EL CAJON — Imperial Valley College never got going after Josue Mulamba went to the bench with early foul trouble Wednesday against Grossmont, falling 64-54 in a Pacific Coast Athletic Conference game here.
Mulamba had four points and five rebounds and the Arabs (11-4, 3-1 PCAC) had an 11-6 lead when the 6-foot-10 center was called for an offensive foul with 12:49 remaining in the first half. It was Mulamba’s second and he didn’t return until the start of the second half.
“It hurts (to lose Mulamba), he’s a very good player,” IVC coach Tyson Aye said. “But we have players capable of stepping in when asked and producing. We didn’t come ready to play.”
Mulamba scored a season-low eight points. He had 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.
“The game got away and the team we played got confidence,” Mulamba said. “You can’t let the game get away and play catch up. I hate losing.”
The Arabs shot 39.1 percent (18 of 46) from the field and were 5 of 19 on 3-pointers. They were out-rebounded, 31-23, mostly on the offensive end. The Griffins had 14 offensive boards, Imperial Valley eight. The Arabs also committed more turnovers, 15-10. Grossmont made a respectable 48.2 percent (27 of 56) of its field goals.
“Josue came out strong, ready to play and picked up two quick ones (fouls) that I thought were kind of cheap,” Darius Singletary said. “We were doing OK until the final two minutes of the first half when we lost our focus. They (Grossmont) had the momentum and they kept the momentum. We just didn’t come out ready to play.”
The Arabs also were without leading scorer Brandon Newman (18.1 average), who missed his fourth straight game because of a family emergency in Atlanta, Ga.
Singletary missed all four of his field-goal attempts, all 3-pointers, in the first half, but moved inside to score 12 points in the second half and ended up with a teams-high 13. He also had six rebounds.
Melvin Cook was the other IVC player in double figures with 11 on 4-of-8 field goals and 3-of-5 at the foul line. Tyler Turner and Travis Alexander each scored eight points, Nate Williams had three and Ryan Ena, two.
After a loss, Aye said was “without a doubt” the toughest of the season, Imperial Valley will try to bounce back Friday at Miramar in a PCAC game.