Trailing by eight early in the first half, the Blinn men’s basketball team went on a 20-1 move which spanned 11 minutes, 23 seconds, and changed the course of the game as the Buccaneers used the momentum to earn a 92-67 victory over Dallas College-Cedar Valley on Saturday at the Kruse Center in Brenham, Texas.
“Cedar Valley came out really hot in the beginning and made their shots,” Blinn head coach Scott Schumacher said. “We told our guys to stay positive and told them to just keep doing what they were doing. Then we went on a big run, and I thought our guys played well.”
Blinn (4-1) faced a 17-9 hole at the 15:08 mark of the first half but stepped on the offensive gas while simultaneously pumping the brakes on an early Suns surge.
Sophomore forward Jan Njock scored on a layup to start the Bucs’ big run and sophomore guard Marco Foster took an assist from sophomore guard Elijah Elliot and was fouled as he turned it into a layup. Foster knocked down the subsequent free throw to pull Blinn within 17-14.
Cedar Valley scored its only point of an almost 12-minute stretch on a single free throw before the Bucs proceeded to score the next 15 points of the contest to take the lead for good at 29-18.
(Pictured: Blinn sophomore forward Alex Tysnkevich, 11, puts up a shot over a Dallas-Cedar Valley defender during a game Nov. 12)
“We were playing good defense from the first whistle of the game, but Cedar Valley was just hitting its shots,” sophomore forward Alex Tsynkevich said. “That’s how basketball goes. They made a run early, but we took care of business defensively and got some buckets in exchange, and that’s how we pulled away and got ourselves a comfortable lead.”
The Suns hit two free throws to temporarily slow Blinn’s run and pull within 29-20 with 3:45 to go in the first half, but the Bucs answered swiftly with six more points to keep control.
Blinn led by double digits the rest of the way and carried a 41-26 edge into halftime.
The Bucs earned their first 20-point advantage of the game when Njock sank a 3-pointer with 17:22 left.
“We followed the game plan that our coaches gave us and executed,” Njock said. “We had a slow start, but on the defensive end you saw our success and energy transition into our offensive game and that’s how we came back and took control.”
Sophomore guard Bakari LaStrap paced the Bucs with 16 points, while Njock and Tsynkevich tallied 13 and 12, respectively. Elliott and Foster finished with nine apiece.
Blinn finished the second-annual Classic with a 2-0 mark and has now won four straight games.
“We’re thankful that Blue Bell Creameries saw that it was a good opportunity to sponsor our tournament, and because of that we’ve been able to bring in some quality teams and take care of them and their student athletes,” Schumacher said. “I’ve always wanted to host a first-class tournament, and between Blinn College and Blue Bell, we’ve been able to do that.”
Up next, the Bucs play host to McLennan Community College at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at the Kruse Center.
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 42 NJCAA national championships since 1987.