IVC beats Cuyamaca, still in first
Imperial Valley College's Kris Cook goes up for a layup against Cuyamaca College during a Pacific Coast Athletic Conference game Friday at IVC. (Fernando Acosta Jr.)
IVC played relentlessly, stretching the lead from the opening tip to the final buzzer, to embarrass the Coyotes, 79-35, in a Pacific Coast Athletic Conference game at the DePaoli Sports Complex.
The Arabs (16-4, 8-1 PCAC) won their fifth straight. They entered Friday tied with San Diego City for the conference lead and retain at least half of it.
Imperial Valley had won its previous two games against the Coyotes (3-16, 1-8 PCAC) by 14- and 11-point margins, one on the road and one at home. It could have looked like a gimme to the Arabs, but they came ready to play.
“I think we know how their players play,” Darius Singletary said. “We’ve been practicing hard. We didn’t want to slip up like we did against Grossmont (IVC’s only conference loss). We feel we shouldn’t lose any more.”
The Arabs have been playing more and more man-to-man since the start of the season. They began a game with a man defense for the first time this season against Cuyamaca and held an opponent to its lowest point total of the season.
“Coach (Tyson) Aye asked us which defense we wanted to start with and we came out in the man and got after it,” Singletary said. “The players believe we’re better in the man.”
The Arabs played more man than zone and it helped get them running. But Aye isn’t giving up on the zone.
“We’re getting better in the man and it’s getting to the point we’re pretty good at both,” Aye said. “I was really happy the way we started the second half. We’ve had a tendency to relax at the start of the second half. Melvin (Cook) stole that pass and took it down for a lay-up to start the second half and it was just like we ended the first half.
Josue Mulamba led IVC with 15 points and had five rebounds and four assists. The 6-foot-10 center from the Congo sat out the final 10 minutes.
Cook scored 13, making 5-of-7 shots from the field including 2-of-3 3-pointers. Nate Williams came off the bench to score a season-high 10. Singletary had nine points, eight assists and six rebounds.
“It was a collective effort,” Aye said.
Ryan Ena scored nine and had six rebounds, Brandon Newman and Tyler Turner each scored six, Travis Alexander and Shawn Jones each scored four and Kris Cook had two.
Felix Arce, a 5-foot-8 freshman from Calexico High, banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer for his first points of the season.
“I feel really good,” Arce said. “I’m really excited.”
Cuyamaca shot 31.7 percent (13-of-41) from the field, 3-of-12 on 3-pointers. IVC made 31-of-50 (62 percent) including 9-of-16 3-pointers (56.3 percent).
Imperial Valley’s next game is at Southwestern on Friday.