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Men hold onto victory against Wolves

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Austin

Austin "A-Ball" Dunbar (30) drives to the basket for an easy lay up.

Photo by Kirsten Schmitt

Photo by Kirsten Schmitt

Austin "A-Ball" Dunbar (30) drives to the basket for an easy lay up.

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On Wednesday, Jan. 27, the MATC Stormers (17-4) took on the Joliet Junior College Wolves (16-5). The Stormers got off to a strong start in the first half with much contribution from Austin Dunbar, as he managed to get to the basket with very little resistance. At halftime he had scored 12 points and had five rebounds. However, he was not the only one that was able to guide his way to the rim with ease during the first half. The Stormers managed to outscore the Wolves 26-14 in the painted area. A lot of the points in the paint were a product of a good defense, which is reflected in the stat sheet as the Stormers put up 15 points off turnovers. The combination of good defense and a heavy paint presence on offense gave the Stormers a 14 -point lead midway through the first half, but Joliet went on a hot streak and put up 21 points from beyond the arc, which forced the Stormers to enter the halftime break with just a 6-point lead.

Both teams entered the second half with new-found defensive intensity. The Stormers managed to get Joliet’s 3-point shooting under control, only allowing 9 points from 3-point range the whole second half.  Dunbar continued to be a force on offense throughout the second half, and ended the game shooting 75% (9/12), putting up a double, double with 22 points and 11 rebounds. His 75% shooting was an exception for the Stormers, as the rest of the team only shot 38% (18/47) from the field.    

Thomas "Tommie T" Hood (12) lays the ball in the basket as the Wolves watch.

Photo by Kirsten Schmitt
Thomas “Tommie T” Hood (12) lays the ball in the basket as the Wolves watch.

After the game I got a chance to speak with Dunbar and I asked him how he was able to stay so effective against such tough defense, and he put all the praise on his coach and teammates, saying, “They gave me the opportunities and confidence to go out there and make plays to win this game.” The Stormers controlled the scoreboard much of the second half until the very end. The Stormers gave up an offensive rebound while up by 2 points with less than a minute left to play in the game, the next possession would determine if MATC was able to walk away with the win.

During a timeout in the final seconds of the game you could see the Stormers coach, Randy Casey, getting after his guys in the huddle. When I asked him what he said to them during that huddle he told me, “I just told them that they needed to stay focused and make up for the mistake (offensive rebound) that we allowed the previous possession, I told them stay on your man and don’t let them score,”  and that is exactly what MATC was able to do, resulting in a 83-81 victory over Joliet.

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Men hold onto victory against Wolves