By Rob Potter
LOCH SHELDRAKE December 16, 2003 It was difficult for Sullivan County Community College (SCCC) Mens Basketball Coach Chris DePew to hide his happiness on Saturday night.
DePew was upbeat and smiling after the Generals defeated Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.) 84-48 in an NJCAA Region XV game at Paul Gerry Fieldhouse.
With the win, SCCC improved its record on the young season to 8-0 overall and 6-0 in Region XV competition.
We played outstanding in the second half, DePew said. Im so proud of these guys. From the first guy to the 13th, all of these guys came to play tonight. When we play like that, there arent too many teams that can beat us. This was a big win for us and we needed it.
After the Generals opened up a five-point lead in the first five minutes of the game, F.I.T. (5-3, 5-2 Region XV) closed its deficit to a single point at 11-10 on a basket by Dwayne Marshall with 12:45 showing on the scoreboard clock.
But SCCC outscored the Tigers by a 26-15 margin the rest of the half to take a 37-25 lead into the locker room.
The Generals then began the second half with a 25-12 run to grab a commanding 62-37 lead with just over 10 minutes left in the contest. In that scoring spurt, SCCC converted F.I.T. turnovers into easy baskets and got its offense clicking in the low post and beyond the three-point arc.
Three Generals reached double figures in the scoring column. Darren Sykes poured in a game-high 21 points, Gary Jones added 15 points and Joseph McLeod had 14.
For the Tigers, Marshall finished with eight points and Jamel Lazare had seven.
They get psyched up and its so tough to play against them here, F.I.T. Coach Charles Jackson said. They play strong at home.
Traveling three hours to get here and then having 30 minutes to warm up made it difficult for us to get going. But were not making excuses. Sullivan played a good game and did what they had to do to win.
Aside from the balanced scoring attack and strong defense, another key to the SCCC victory was a meeting the team had on Friday. After recording a 13-point win over Westchester Community College on Tuesday night, the Generals struggled in a 62-55 defeat of a determined Orange County Community College team on Thursday night.
We just went around the room and I explained to each player what I needed from them, DePew said. Everybody had a chance to speak and get things off their chest. It wasnt confrontational, everybody just said what they felt they needed to say.