Article Written by: Jason Farmer NEWS-SUN
Photo Taken by: Tony Baker NMTXsports.com
The New Mexico Junior College men's basketball team continued its home court struggles Thursday night, falling to New Mexico Military Institute 73-54 at Caster Activity Center.
"Props to(NMMI)," NMJC coach Brian Lohrey said. "They came in a dnshot the ball really, really well in the first half. I wish our effort would have been better tonight, because it was terrible. Just terrible."
With the loss, the Thunderbirds fall to 7-6 at home this season. Lohrey has no clue why his team does so poorly on the team's home court.
"Tonight it was a lack of focus on game day," Lohrey said of the T-Birds home court struggles. "I thought it was a lack of focus today, on the game day. In shoot around, I thought shoot around was bad. I thought our warm ups were bad. It was thingswe have never done before. It's like they were just distracted."
The game belonged to NMMI all the way. The Thunderbirds never led and were never able to tie the game. The closest it ever got was a two point deficit just over three minutes into the game. NMMI opened the game with a 32-9 run.
By the end of the first half, NMJC trailed 42-22.
The game stayed closer in the second half. NMJC actually edged NMMI by one point, 32-31.
"Our effort was better," Lohrey said. "But we had to try and change the tempo of the game and being down 20-something is tough to a team that brings it back out and running stuff."
For a while, it looked like NMJC would be able to climb back into the game. The Thunderbirds had a 9-0 run midway through the second half, cutting the deficit to 14 points. After a free throw and two buckets by NMMI, the T-Birds went on another 9-0 run, cutting the deficit 10.
The Thunderbirds had a chance to get within eight points, but a pair of missed free throws blew that chance.
"We had it to 10 (points) with seven minutes left." Lohrey said. "Xabier Gomez was at the free throw line to go to eight. If Xabier makes those two free throws, we get it to eight and its anybodies game at that point."
While Gomez missed the two freee throw, he made a pair earlier in the half. NMJC actually sank nine straight freee throws as a team, including seven in the second half, before missing its three chances.
"Xabier didnt blow the game by any stretch," Lohrey said. "But make those free throws and its eight and eight points can disappear real quick."
Shawn Olden led the Thunderbirds with 16 points while Roosevelt Smart finished with 10. Josiah Spencer scored nine and Comez contributed eight points. Makol Mawien chipped in six points and had a game hight nine rebounds. Damontrez Hawes also scored for the T-Birds.
With the loss, NMJC falls to 18-7 on the season and 6-5 in WJCAC play. Next up for NMJC is a road trip to Levelland. NMJC is 11-1 away from its home court this season.
"All we can do is refocus and regroup," Lohrey said. "That's it. Move past it and get out of here."