Arabs beat Long Beach, 79-69, in conference play
Imperial Valley College's Kris Cook (right) drives for a layup against Long Beach College during a Pacific Coast Athletic Conference game Friday at IVC. (Eric Miller)
Singletary made five straight 3-pointers in the first half en route to a season-high 23 points to lead the Arabs past Long Beach City, 79-69, in a nonconference game at the DePaoli Sports Complex.
“We made a lot of extra passes and the ball came my way,” Singletary said. “The shots were open and (we) took advantage and took the shots. Tonight, it happened to be me in that spot.”
Singletary made eight of 13 field goal attempts including five of seven 3-pointers and was two of two at the free throw line. It’s the fifth game Singletary has scored in double figures this season, but his previous high was 11. The 23 points boosted his average to 10.6.
Singletary also led the Arabs (7-2) with 11 rebounds. Assist totals weren’t available following the game and will be taken off video tape, but it’s possible he had a rare triple double.
“Darius is a very good shooter,” Imperial Valley coach Tyson Aye said. “With the other good shooters we have, when he starts making them like that, it’s going to be hard for teams to guard us.”
The Arabs also had outstanding performances from center Josue Mulamba, who had 19 points and nine rebounds, and guard Brandon Newman, who had 18 points. Sophomore guard Tyler Turner added 11 points in a solid showing.
The 6-foot-10, 240-pound Mulamba made nine of 12 field goals on an assortment of turnaround jumpers, putbacks, a lob converted into a dunk and one particularly impressive jump hook.
“Nobody on the planet can block his jump hook,” Aye said. “He shoots it from above the basket.”
Newman was six of nine from the field including three of six 3-pointers.
“The guys played well,” Aye said. “We did a very good job of making the extra pass and playing inside-out to create the open shots.”
Imperial Valley went on a 20-5 run to close out the first half with a 47-27 lead. Mulamba had 11 points in the run.
Long Beach coach Barry Barnes went to a smaller lineup in the second half and began applying full-court pressure, but the Arabs handled it well to hold a 73-49 lead with six minutes to play.
Aye ordered Imperial Valley into the four-corners delay offense and it backfired. The Arabs didn’t get good shots and the Vikings (0-8) began forcing turnovers. Long Beach outscored the Arabs 20-5 the rest of the way, but never got closer than 10.
“I went into the delay too soon,” Aye said.
Long Beach got within 11 with two minutes left, but Singletary made two free throws for a 78-65 lead to slow the Vikings’ momentum.
“I like the way Darius played,” Mulamba said. “He does his job as captain.”
The Arabs, ranked 13th in southern California, are building some momentum, too. The victory in their home opener was their fourth straight.
“We’re actually coming along really well,” Singletary said. “We’re in a good rhythm. I believe everybody is playing good and everybody is gelling.”
Melvin Cook and Travis Alexander each scored three and Ryan Ena scored two and had seven rebounds for Imperial Valley.
The Arabs play Southwestern at 7 p.m. Wednesday in a Pacific Coast Athletic Conference game at the DePaoli Sports Complex.