Men's College Basketball: Big 3 deliver for CLC
Entering Saturday's game against the Mesabi Norse, the Central Lakes College Raiders had 10 wins. In most of those wins, interior play from the big three of Timothy Boyd, T.J. Kornbaum and Lamontrell Fuller was a key component. The Raiders defeat...
Entering Saturday's game against the Mesabi Norse, the Central Lakes College Raiders had 10 wins.
In most of those wins, interior play from the big three of Timothy Boyd, T.J. Kornbaum and Lamontrell Fuller was a key component.
The Raiders defeated the Norse 79-66 to move to 3-1 in the Northern Division and the big three played a major role in the win combining for 42 points. That also opened up the perimeter where Keonte' Jenkins' 21 points led the team.
"When everyone is getting touches, and when we are getting those inside baskets, that is when we are hitting our stride and that is just good basketball," said CLC coach Jim Russell. "My leading scorers are my post guys but they are also my leading assist guys. I think a lot of teams have a problem handling us inside."
Fuller led the big three with 16 points and three assists. Boyd and Kornbaum each tallied 13 points, and dished out five and three assists, respectively.
"Coach tells us every game to put the ball inside and get it to the post every time and if it isn't there then we get it out to our shooters," said Fuller.
The Raiders shot 40 percent from the field for the game, and outscored the Norse in the paint 34-18. CLC also forced 28 Mesabi turnovers, scoring 30 points off of those.
Last Saturday the Raiders suffered a tough road loss to Fond du Lac, but they have taken care of business at home since then, defeating division rival Vermilion Wednesday and the Norse Saturday.
"Coach Russell has really been preaching to us to be a team and play together," Fuller said. "Last Saturday at Fond du Lac we were kind of doing our own thing, playing isolation ball. When we move the ball and make at least three passes and get an open look, that's when we are a good team."
The Raiders got off to a quick start Saturday building a lead of 12-3 on a layup from Jenkins and a three from Jacob Russell. Mesabi came right back and took a 24-23 lead on a three from Austin Erickson for Mesabi's only lead.
Jenkins responded with four straight points, and the Raiders outscored the Norse 11-4 to take a 35-27 lead to halftime.
A basket from Boyd and a dunk from Kornbaum started the second-half fireworks building a 14-point Raiders lead. Another three from Jenkins, and four straight points from Fuller gave CLC a 56-38 lead with just over six minutes left.
With a 3-1 division record, the Raiders hit the road for games against a talented Rainy River team Friday, and a Saturday matchup with Hibbing.
"When we are struggling, like last Saturday, you have to look at yourself in the mirror and ask where are we weak at," said Russell. "I think both myself and the team saw where we are weak at and now we have a direction on where we are going. This is a small group of just 12 guys, but I like the team. The spirit is strong and the team chemistry is getting better and better. That game really opened our eyes."
As a sophomore and team leader, Fuller is encouraging teammates.
"I tell the guys don't take this moment for granted," Fuller said. "This will be the last moment for some guys playing basketball so just enjoy every minute of it and give it all you got."
Mesabi 27 39-66
Central Lakes 35 44-79
Kristofer Warren 7, Marquez Tatum 5, Delon Samuna 3, J'Neil Gibson 6, Laurel Ladd 7, Shaheem Sanders 14, Jermaine Russell 21, Austin Erickson 3. FG 23-60 (38 percent), FT 11-26 (42 percent). 3-point 9-21 (43 percent).
Tanner Heinsius 3, Keonte' Jenkins 21, Jacob Russell 8, Toby Flannigan 2, Darrelle Bacon 3, Thomas Kornbaum 13, Timothy Boyd 13, Lamontrell Fuller 16. FG 30-75 (40 percent), FT 12-15 (80 percent). 3-point 7-25 (28 percent). Division: 3-1. Overall: 11-5. Next: vs. Rainy River at International Falls 7:45 p.m. Friday.