Come-from-behind win highlights Cyclones' week
Moraine Valley College’s men have a fondness for coming from behind on the basketball court, and that strategy worked out well for the Cyclones last Tuesday.
A slow start and flat performance put Moraine in arrears of the College of DuPage at halftime, but the Cyclones rallied behind Kyle Ward and Johnte Shannon in the second half to bag a 78-66 win over the Chaparrals. Ward and Shannon combined for 26 points and were included among five double-digit scorers.
Also providing solid performances on Moraine’s behalf were Paulius Ostruskevicius (15 points, five rebounds), Cameron Juillerat (15 points, three assists), Stagg alumnus Brett Kaiser (12 points, 11 rebounds) and Des’nique Harris (eight points, nine rebounds), In addition to his team-high 16 points, Ward had five rebounds and three assists, while Shannon complemented his 10 markers with six steals, five rebounds and four assists.
First-year coach David Howard liked the energy he saw from the Cyclones over the final 20 minutes and asserted that the team would possess a better record to date had it played with the same degree of intensity at other times.
Last weekend was a disappointment to Moraine, as it dropped two games at the Cincinnati State Tech and Community College Surge Classic Tournament.
The Cyclones squared off with the host school on Friday and were routed 106-44. Besides not coping well with the winners’ defensive pressure and giving their shooters too many open looks, Moraine was also hampered by the absence of Ward, one of its best players, because of an injury. According to Howard, that affected his other athletes psychologically.
Harris’ double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds paced the Cyclones. Shannon contributed 12 points, five rebounds and three assists, and Ostruskevicius supplied 11 points and four boards.
The news wasn’t much better on Saturday, as Moraine fell to a 116-89 defeat against Malcolm X College. The Cyclones were within 28-21 in the first half before enduring a cold spell that couldn’t be completely overcome.
Shannon (19 points), Harris (15 points, seven rebounds), Kaiser (14 points), Jason Allen (11 points), Juillerat (10 points, three assists) and John Curran (eight rebounds) all played well for Moraine in a losing cause, which pleased Howard. He also liked the fight the Cyclones demonstrated much of the way.
“Other teams [in the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference] are 5-3 or 5-4, so we’re still in the mix,” Howard said. “All these games are preparing us for the conference [and] the scores are not indicative of who we are as a team.
“We have what it takes, [but] we need to rise to the occasion when we play better teams. Our Achilles heel is rebounding — we definitely need to work on that.
“[Our players are] discouraged, but I still believe in my guys. As long as we keep working hard, we still can be in it. When we play aggressive and don’t settle for jump shots and attack the rim, we’re a much better team.”
The Cyclones lost to the College of DuPage, 63-60, last Tuesday at home.