Flyers Soar to 7-0 Start
Hold a college basketball team to 56 points and the probability of victory is pretty high.
That’s what the undefeated Sandhills Community College Flyers (7-0) did in Saturday afternoon’s 86-56 victory over Pitt Community College (3-2) at The O’Neal School Gym. They set an early tone by holding the Bulldogs scoreless during a seven minute stretch of the first half on the way to an 18-point lead at the intermission.
The defensive effort offset a sloppy offensive performance that produced 23 turnovers. Daquain Towns led the Flyers with 15 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Raheem Jolliffe, Louis Craft and Markell Lotharp added 10 points apiece.
“I told the guys just a minute ago it was by far our best defensive effort for 40 minutes this year,” Flyers coach Mike Apple said. “I thought we played suffocating defense. I thought we took them out of the things they like to do. That was exciting.”
The Flyers didn’t score a point until Dre Huntley canned a short jumper on their seventh offensive possession of the game, making it 4-2 Bulldogs. A tip-in by Towns followed by a pair at the foul line by the former Pinecrest star made it 6-4 and they never trailed again.
Guards Towns, Huntley and Trevor Cole took turns going to the floor, fighting for loose balls as the Flyers began taking the fun out it for the visitors. In the closing minute of the half, a drive for two by Towns and then a fall-away three by Raheem Jolliffe as the buzzer sounded made it 43-25.
“We had a good defensive practice yesterday so it was like a transition into the game today,” Towns said. “We wanted to play hard and get down on the floor and get everything.”
There was no sign of coasting by the tied for ninth in the nation Flyers (NJCAA Div. III poll) at the start of the second half.
Louis Craft scored in transition off a steal by Huntley to start things off. A moment later they went the length of the court in the blink of an eye as Towns grabbed a rebound, passed to Huntley in one motion near mid-court for pass to Craft for a dunk.
A steal by Cole, and a pass to Lotharp for another dunk, completed a deflating for the Bulldogs, 6-0 run, making it 49-25. The visitors never got closer than 18 points the rest of the way.
Apple liked the job Jolliffe did on guarding the Bulldogs’ James Nolen who did not score a field goal.
“Especially at the start of the second half,” the coach said, “Raheem was denying him and taking him out of what he wanted to do offensively.”
The Flyers connected on 48 per cent of their field goal attempts and 74 per cent of their free throws (20-for-27). The visitors made just 38 per cent of their shots from the field. The Flyers also enjoyed a 51-to 29 advantage on the boards.
Apple didn’t expect his players to be affected by the team’s national ranking which became known on Thursday.
“It’s hard to get this crowd serious about anything,” he said. “They’re a happy go lucky group and I’m pleased with that.”
Before the game, members of last year’s team unfurled the Region X championship banner it earned for the 2010-11 season. The Flyers are scheduled to entertain Wake Tech on Tuesday with a 5 p.m. tip-off.
Pitt – Becton 3 4-7 10, Hodges 1 0-0 2, Irby 4 0-0 9, Lawrence 1 0-1 2, Maryland 2 0-0 4, Mclawhorn 6 2-4 14, Miles 2 0-0 4, Nolan 0 2-2 2, Wilson 4 1-3 9. Totals 23 9-17 56. Sandhills – Collins 2 0-0 6, Gill 0 4-4 4, Jolliffe 2 5-6 10, Morrison 0 0-0 0, Towns 6 3-4 15, Huntley 3 2-2 8, Vinson 0 0-0 0, Cole 2 0-1 5, Washington 2 0-2 4, Jones 3 0-0 8, Craft 4 2-3 10, Ewing 3 0-0 6, Lotharp 3 4-5 10. Totals 30 20-27 86. Three-point goals: (P) 1 (Irby); (S) 6 (Collins 2, Jones 2, Jolliffe, Cole).
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