American River College’s men’s basketball team pulled away late against Santa Rosa Junior College Tuesday, aided by guard Tyrone Pott’s 15 points in a 64-51 home win.
The team improved to 11-5 overall on the season and 3-2 in the Big Eight Conference.
ARC led for most of the game, using its’ size advantage early and often on offense and playing stiff, man-to-man defense.
“This year, we pride ourself around inside-out basketball. We look at the bigs first, and then see if that works, and if it doesn’t, we go to the perimeter,” said ARC guard Marcelas Perry, who finished the game with 10 points, three assists, and two rebounds.
Both teams started the game slow and appeared rusty, but ARC’s defense allowed them to take and hold a sizeable lead for most of the game, something that ARC head coach Mark Giorgi believes helps his team play complementary basketball.
“If we’re not scoring on offense, we can play good enough defense to keep (ourselves) in the game,” he said after the game.
The sluggish play continued throughout the first half, but ARC took a 29-20 lead into halftime.
Even as the second half got underway, both teams still struggled mightily to score, as it was only 32-22 after over five minutes of play.
After a relatively calm first half, the foul differential became increasingly lopsided in the second. At one point, ARC had been called for seven fouls to SRJC’s one.
“I thought it was called pretty loose in the first half, and tight in the second,” said Giorgi of the officiating.
Giorgi was noticeably upset at the officials in the second half, adding after the game “If we’re not playing any differently, how can it be called differently?”
Giorgi also noted that he was “not a big fan of the stripes.”
ARC finished the game with 20 fouls called against it, with 14 being issued to SRJC.
ARC held as much as a 15 point lead during the game, but SRJC managed to cut it back down to single digits late in the second half.
“They had their run, but we stayed composed and knew that we were strong enough to win the game,” said Perry of the latter stages of the game.
ARC executed on attempted trap plays by SRJC three times late in the game, allowing the opposition to run multiple defenders at the ball handler who would then throw the ball down the floor to an open teammate that resulted in three easy layups down the stretch.
All three layups for ARC had come after SRJC had made a basket of its own, shutting down a potential comeback attempt.
“If they’re going to bring all their guys up, we (have to) attack,” said Giorgi.
ARC’s next game is Friday, Jan. 23 at Sierra College in Rocklin at 5:30 p.m.