Mulamba leads Arabs over Olympians, 62-55
Imperial Valley College's Josue Mulamba attempts a free throw in a game against San Diego Mesa on Wednesday at IVC. (JOSELITO VILLERO)
The Arabs (13-4, 5-1 PCAC), ranked 13th in SoCal, set up a showdown with San Diego City (11-5, 5-0 PCAC) for at least part of the conference lead Friday on the Knights’ court.
San Diego City played at Southwestern in a conference game Wednesday night.
Mulamba equaled his season high scoring output. He was 7-of-13 from the field including making his first 3-pointer of the season and 6-of-7 at the free throw line. The 6-foot-10 center from the Congo was forced to launch the 3-pointer with the shot clock almost expired.
“It (3-pointer) might be my last, too,” Mulamba said. “I had to shoot it.”
Mulamba had more offensive opportunities because San Diego Mesa (5-10, 2-4 PCAC) was one of the few teams to try to guard him man-to-man.
The Olympians tried to help when they could, but Mulamba was able to put it in the basket on a variety of turnaround jump shots and two putbacks.
“Josue played pretty well,” IVC coach Tyson Aye said. “I think he might have been surprised to not be doubled (teamed) as much as he had been.”
It was Newman’s second game back after missing four attending to a personal emergency. The 5-foot-11 guard made 6-of-8 field goals including a 3-poiner and was 4-of-6 at the free throw line.
“I feel really good,” Newman said. “I got my legs back and my shot came back.”
The Arabs were in the lead the entire game, but couldn’t ever get beyond a 10-point lead. They were ahead 31-21 late in the first half, but the Olympians rallied to trail 33-28 at halftime. IVC had another 10-point advantage, 47-37, midway through the second half, but went scoreless for four minutes and San Diego Mesa cut its deficit to 50-47 with 7 minutes, 30 seconds to play.
Imperial missed five straight free throws during the drought.
Darius Singletary got the Arabs going with a putback off his missed shot. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound sophomore muscled his way down the lane, missed a runner, grabbed the rebound and scored.
“I knew the shot was going to be short when I released it and I went in and got it,” Singletary said.
IVC stretched its lead back to 57-49, but Tony Rowe’s long 3-pointer with 42 seconds left put the Olympians within five.
The Arabs made five of six free throws from there to finally put the game out of reach. Newman made one, Mulamba two and Melvin Cook two.
“The team stayed well,” Mulamba said. “We stayed together.”
Added Newman, “I knew we’d come through at the end like we always do.”
Melvin Cook scored nine, Travis Alexander eight, Singletary five and Ryan Ena two for the Arabs.
“We played hard and we defended,” Aye said. “We didn’t shoot very well, but I was very happy with the way we rebounded. It’s been our biggest weakness and we took a step in the right direction.”