In its first contest of the Beaver Classic Tournament, the American River College men’s basketball team lost a one-sided contest to Yuba College Nov. 15. Led by forward Jayson Williams, who scored 22 points, Yuba used an aggressive full-court press and man-to-man defense to hand the Beavers their second loss of the young season with a final score of 90 to 58.
After briefly holding a lead early in the first half, ARC allowed Yuba to tie the game at seven. From that point, Yuba began a 26-7 run.
Yuba College assistant coach Nate Stephens attributed some of the run to the team’s full-court press, and the length and athleticism that allows them to use it effectively.
“We use it for momentum changes,” said Stephens. “We definitely don’t rely on it, but we do use it every game. We are very long and athletic (and) we do have good size for a junior college team.”
Though Yuba College is currently ranked fourth in the state of California, ARC head coach Mark Giorgi believes the Beavers where adequately prepared to be competitive, describing Yuba as “frontrunners” during the game and attributing the disappointing performance to inexperience and poor execution.
“We’re just young and inexperienced,” said Giorgi. “When we ran our press offense correctly we got good basket attacks and when we didn’t, we threw the ball away and looked like a junior high team. We just went over the press break an hour before the game. You’ve got certain guys who don’t want to do what they’re supposed to do and I sub them out and hope the next guy will.”
One of few things ARC did effectively during the game was get to the foul line. The team converted 21 of 30 free throw attempts to produce over a third of its for nearly have of their points.
Neither coaching staff believed the free throw numbers were a function of any design, however. Giorgi stated that “selfish,” “stagnant” offense on a number of possessions rewarded his players for ill-advised drives to the basket. Stephens cited new regulations as a major contributing factor in Yuba’s inability to keep ARC off the line.
“(There is an) NCAA rule change where they don’t allow more ‘hands on,’ so you’re going to shoot more free throws than normal,” said Stephens after the game. “Typically, the aggressive team to the basket is now rewarded now, because (of the new rule).”
The game was a homecoming of sorts for Sophomore Yuba College guard Darrell Polee Jr., who attended classes at ARC during high school.
“I used to come in this gym and just picture myself playing it,” said Pollee. “It was really fun to actually do it. It was a little different than I (imagined in high school), but I had a good time and it was really fun.”
ARC will look to close the Beaver Classic Tournament with its first win of the season against Shasta College Nov. 16 at 3 p.m.
“It’s a game that’s very winnable,” Giorgi said in reference to ARC’s next contest. “We’ve just got to come out and execute how we’re supposed to. We shouldn’t have as much trouble on the glass, they’re not going to press, but as a college athlete, you should be able to adjust overnight to what your faults were and what you didn’t do right. We’ll see how it comes out tomorrow.”