By Ted Waddell
LOCH SHELDRAKE December 1, 2006 It was a Starbucks® kind of game.
In Tuesday evening’s National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XV game between the hometown Generals of Sullivan County Community College and the Dutchess Community College Falcons, it took a while for the local hoopsters to figuratively wake up and smell the coffee. In the first few minutes of the contest, the lead bounced around both sides of the overhead scoreboard in Paul Gerry Fieldhouse.
At halftime, the Generals, who are the top-ranked NJCAA Division III team in the nation, headed off to the locker room with a slim eight-point lead, 42-34.
In the second half, however, the proverbial caffeine seemed to kick in, and SCCC wound up winning, 81-54, as the Dutchess defense stalled.
SCCC improved to 8-0 overall and 3-0 in Region XV. Dutchess CC fell to 3-3 on the season.
One high point of the first half was an Academy Award-like performance by Sullivan’s Ryan Sutton, who showed a lot of dramatic license when a bump turned into the foul. The contact with a Dutchess CC player sent Sutton crashing to the floor with his eyes on the referee.
Sutton did not earn a little statue of the golden guy, but the Generals received a couple of points on the scoreboard.
Double-digit players for SCCC included Sutton and sophomore center Jason Johnson each of whom had a game-high 18 points Josh Lott (17), Donte Harrison (14).
Johnson had a double double, as he also grabbed 13 rebounds.
Three Falcons scored in double figures. Ricky Bailey led the way with 11 points, while Jason Luksis and Lamar Pittman each recorded 10 points.
Stats from the free throw line: SCCC was 14-of-26 (54 percent); Dutchess CC was 9-of-15 (60 percent).
SCCC has a pair of 6-foot-8 sophomore bookends, Harrison and Johnson, who call themselves the “Twin Towers.”
“It was great, a team effort, a great victory,” Johnson said.
Harrison said, “We had a great game, a couple of matchups with the other six-eight kids [Bailey and Pittman], but we’re the real six-eight, man. We’re ‘The Towers’, Number One!”
“In the first 18 minutes, I think we played pretty well,” Dutchess CC Coach Joe Detz.
“We did all the things we wanted to do and we stayed in the game,” he added. “They had a little spurt in the last two minutes, and it just rolled over into the second half.
“We have 12 guys who come to play, [but] we just need to get into sync more,” Detz concluded.
With his team still undefeated, SCCC Coach Chris DePew said he’ll take the current No. 1 national ranking by the NJCAA. But he also noted that it doesn’t really count until March 18, 2007 which is the day after the title game of the three-day NJCAA National Championships at SUNY Delhi (March 15-17, 2007).
“Hopefully we can just keep winning and maintain that ranking… the kids like it, but the coach wants to be ranked number one on March 18th,” he said.
His take on the game?
“I think we regrouped at halftime, made some good decisions and put down the [Dutchess] defense,” DePew said. “This was the first time we’ve faced a team as big as we are, and it took a little bit of an adjustment period, but we clamped down in the second half.”
DePew said he was concerned about the Falcons’ Luksis, who has a reputation for racking up an average of four 3-point shots a game. But Sutton defended Luksis and held the Dutchess CC freshman guard below his average from 3-point range.
“He really stepped up to the plate tonight, hitting two big three’s and making some things happen,” DePew said of Sutton’s overall performance on the court.
“He was the player of the game for us tonight,” DePew added.
Notes: The SCCC men’s basketball home games are now streaming live, starting five minutes before each game, said Zachariah Mathew, who is the Coordinator for Recreation Sports and Wellness at SCCC.
To tune in to the live broadcasts, go to the Generals’ home page at http://www.sullivan.suny.edu/athletics/ and click on the link Generals’ Basketball LIVE Webcast.SCCC’s next home game is scheduled for Saturday, December 16 The Generals will host Nassau Community College at 3 p.m. that day in a Region XV contest.