By Paul Gotham
ROCHESTER, NY — When they needed it, the Monroe Community College Tribunes found the measure from behind the arc Sunday afternoon.
Greg Williams (Cincinnati, OH.) and Ta-Quan Zimmerman (Waterbury, Ct.) each accounted for 14 points as the Tribunes defeated the Herkimer County Community College Generals, 67-61 in the Pete Pavia Memorial Scholarship Basketball Tournament on George Monagan Court.
The pair combined to hit six of Monroe’s 11 3-pointers on the afternoon as the Tribunes stung Herkimer’s two-three zone zone.
“It’s about making the right decisions,” Zimmerman said of Monroe’s offensive effort. “We get into gaps and try to find our shooters.”
Williams hit three-of-five from long range in the first half and four-of-seven for the contest.
“Every time that first one goes in it helps my confidence,” Williams said. “After that, I just let it go.”
Like their previous win on Friday, the Tribs went after their opponent with a balanced attack. Eight Tribunes in all scored multiple baskets.
Malcolm McNair (Jacksonville, Fl.) and Jahvari Josiah (Brooklyn, NY) combined as the Black and Gold took their largest lead of the game late in the second half.
McNair and Josiah connected on back-to-back triples after Dallas Gary (Buffalo, NY) knocked down a turnaround baseline jumper, and MCC led 61-51.
The Generals rallied and scored seven straight to narrow the gap to three in the final minute.
“Herkimer has a good basketball team,” said Monroe head coach Jerry Burns. “They came to play. I knew going in that it was going to be a very difficult game. They play hard.”
Tashawn Desir (Brooklyn, NY) sealed the victory with four free throws converting a pair of one-and-one situations in the game’s final minute.
Monroe’s defense forced Herkimer into 22 turnovers. At the same time, the Generals dished out just 13 assists on the 24 field goals.
“Our defensive presence at the end is what won the game for us,” Burns explained. “They didn’t get a whole lot of open looks. We were able to just keep that pressure on them.”
The Tribs led by three at the half.
After five lead changes and two ties in the first ten minutes of play, Monroe used an 8-0 run to jump in front.
“First half we didn’t get so much penetration, so we didn’t get too many open shots,” Williams explained. “It was a lot of contested shots. Second half we did a better job of penetrating and getting more layups.”
Nonetheless, Williams and Zimmerman used the long ball to spark the Tribunes. Williams nailed a catch-and-shoot trey from the right corner when McNair drew the defense and dished off for the assist. Zimmerman followed with a baseline drive in traffic for a bucket before connecting on his own three-ball from the top of the key, and MCC led 20-14.
“We took their best shot,” Zimmerman added. “We defended well. We played together as a unit, and we got the job done.”
Herkimer responded. Jonathan Feiler (St. James, NY) finished a rebound and putback then delivered on the next trip with a jump hook in the lane.
Williams stretched the lead with a pair of long balls. Josiah climbed the ladder to retrieve a pass over the Herkimer zone and quickly tapped it to Williams in the corner for three and a 26-20 Monroe advantage.
Herkimer and Feiler momentarily closed the gap to one. The 6-8 center used the window for a turnaround jumper from the left of the lane. On the next possession, Feiler hit another jump hook in the paint. MCC led 29-28. It was as close as the Generals would get all day as the Tribunes never surrendered the lead.
Josiah hit a pair of free throws before half for the 31-28 Monroe edge.
Zimmerman added seven rebounds and five assists with his 14 points.
Josiah had a game-high nine rebounds to go with 10 points.
Monroe outrebounded Herkimer 36-35. The Tribunes finished 11-of-34 behind the arc, but 14-of-18 at the free throw line.
Herkimer hit 7-of-10 from the charity stripe.
Feiler had a game-high 24 points.
Jerome Floyd (Hempstead, NY) led all with seven assists.
With the win, Monroe improves to 11-1. It is the best start for Monroe since the 2009-10 season which started 14-0. That team finished 29-4 in the National tournament.
Herkimer came into the game at 11-1.
The Tribunes play next weekend in the Jamestown Community College Invitational. Monroe meets Division II Columbus State who has a record of 7-2 with a win over Genesee Community College (93-80) and a loss to Sullivan County CC (60-57).