Men’s College Basketball: Raiders come alive in second half to topple Gogebic
Central Lakes College hosted Gogebic Community College
As the first half of the season nears its end, the Central Lakes Raiders continued their prep work for the Northern Division season with a 79-64 win over Gogebic Friday, Dec. 10, in Brainerd.
The Raiders, who improved to 8-2 with the win, struggled from the field in the first half and led by just one point at the half, but attacked the basket in the second half to get the win.
Quamar Gresham led the team with 16 points with Zaa Buffalo finishing with 15 points and 10rebounds. David Felix also tallied 13 points and 10 rebounds. The Raiders won the battle on the board by a 42-32 margin.
“In the first half we came out guns blazing, but then we cooled off,” Buffalo said. “Coach drew up a good play at the end of the half and we felt like that should have gone down and given us a little extra push into halftime. We were a little frustrated, but there was no one to blame but ourselves and I thought we played better in the second half.”
Most of the first-half frustration for the Raiders came from shooting woes as they shot just 41% from the field and 28% from behind the arc and failed to make it to the free throw line.
A three-pointer from Buffalo early in the first half gave the Raiders a 9-0 lead, but they stalled after that and Gogebic pulled to 30-28 before the Raiders scored the next six points from Buffalo and Traveon Jones and took a 34-33 lead to the locker room.
“We knew that we were going to wear them down in the second half and they shot the ball really well in the first half,” Raiders head coach Jim Russell said. “It was nothing that we did. They just made shots. Our defense was pretty solid and at halftime, I told my coaching staff that they (Gogebic) had 33 points and we usually have 50 so it just was us not making our shots. We were settling for jump shots in the first half and in the second half we started taking the ball to the basket.”
The Raiders got early baskets from Buffalo and Gresham and stretched the lead to 41-36, but the Sampson battled back to make it 47-46. CLC responded on a pair of free throws by Felix and a two-pointer from Derek Aeilts to stretch the lead to 53-46.
Later in the half with a 56-52 lead, the Raiders went on a 16-4 run to lead 72-56 with CLC converting on eight free throw attempts during the run. It was what Russell was looking for as the Raiders shot 12 for 15 from the line in the second half.
Now the focus shifts to finals and a big weekend of basketball next weekend as the team will face Minnesota State-Fergus Falls on Friday, Dec. 17, and then get a rematch against Riverland Saturday, Dec. 18. The Blue Devils, currently ranked in the top 10 nationally, defeated the Raiders 92-87 in Austin Dec. 4.
“We are sitting here at 8-2. One game that we lost was to the seventh-ranked team in the nation and the other one was to a Division II school,” Russell said. “I like where we are at. It’s difficult as a coach because any kid that comes off the bench is as good as a starter so right now we are competing and that is the best part.”
Buffalo also added his perspective on the state of the Raiders heading into the final weekend of the non-conference season.
“With our team, we have so many guys that we really don’t know what we have yet and we are missing three of our main guys through the early part of the season,” he said. “I say that every day is a learning process and we are working to get better every single day.”
Gogebic 33 31– 64
Central Lakes 34 45 – 79
Yohance London 2, Marien Williams 18, FaFa Lu 2, Trevon Clark 14, Elijah Owens 8, Adam Libertoski 2, Donald Davis 3, Christian Hocking 15. FG 26-63 (41.3%), FT 6-11 (54.5%), 3-point 6-18 (33.3%).
Carrson Jones 8, Jalen Dearring 6, Josh Lewis 4, Quamar Gresham 16, CJ Davenport 6, Traveon Jones 4, Evan Hoy 4, Zaa Buffalo 15, Derek Aeilts 3, David Felix 13. FG 30-71 (42.3%), FT 12-15 (80%). 3-point 7-25 (28%). Overall: 8-2. Next: hosts Minnesota State 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17.