By PAUL GOTHAM
CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. — If Tuesday’s season opener is any indication of things to come, fans of the Monroe Community College men’s basketball team better buckle their seat belts and order an extra supply of Grecian Formula or any preferred hair color treatment.
Holden Redparth scored seven in the final 1:19. Tremaine Carter paced five in double figures as Monroe erased a halftime deficit to defeat the Finger Lakes Community College Lakers 86-80 in Region 3 action on Putt Moore Court, Tuesday night.
“It feels good to win my first college game,” Redparth said. “Defense made the difference with good ball movement, good screens. I was just trying to do my job as a freshman and score.”
After converting a pair of free throws, the 6-5 guard nailed a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer from free-throw line extended on the left side. His two free throws with 14.7 on the game clock iced the victory.
“The free throws,” Monroe head coach Jerry Burns said. “He stepped up with confidence and knocked those down. Those can be scary shots when you’re up by yourself, but he did it.”
Redparth missed all three of his attempts from the floor in the first half. He hit five of seven coming out of the locker room including three of four from behind the arc.
“Our bigs really stepped up and were screening for our point guard and getting me open shots,” Redparth explained. “Ball movement, penetration and kick, screens and open opportunities for everybody.”
“He took better shots,” Burns added. “His offensive skill is really good. He made two threes that were big threes.”
Carter netted 24 on 11-of-14 shooting, but it was the 6-8 forward’s defense in the closing moments of the game which made the difference.
“Coach always stresses defense,” Carter explained. “He wants us to play defense harder than we play offense. I felt like I played good defense today, and as a team we did too.”
Carter denied FLCC’s leading scorer, 6-2 guard Shabazz Mosley, an open look from three-point range on back-to-back possessions late in the game.
“The one thing about him is he’s versatile,” Burns noted. “He’s big. He can post, and then he can also defend out on the perimeter. That’s what makes him good. I don’t know what he ended up with point-wise, but his defense made a difference.”
Monroe grabbed the early lead. Malik Colvin-Seldon finished a high-low feed from Raymond Sims Jr. with a dunk. Omar Williams found Carter underneath for two. Williams, Sims and Carter combined on a quick passing with Sims providing a wing entry feed to Carter for the deuce and a 12-7 MCC advantage.
But Mosley and Jonathan Range led the way as FLCC scored on five of six possessions to take its first lead of the contest. Range tallied on consecutive trips down the floor. Mosley converted an and-one. Jay Scarbrough hit one of two from the free line, and Shane Fanning connected on a pull-up jumper in the lane for a 17-12 Laker lead.
Over the final eight minutes of the half, the teams exchanged leads on four occasions and had five ties. Mosley hit a three before half to send FLCC into the locker room with a 40-37 edge. Range connected from three-point land to start the second stanza. The Lakers had chances on the next two possessions to extend the lead but couldn’t convert.
“I was just unhappy with the dribble penetration [FLCC was getting],” Burns noted. “I think they got by us too many times. That ended up putting pressure on our big guys who constantly have to block shots. That works occasionally, but what it does is it gets you out of position, and then it leads to long closeouts or shooters being left open. We have to do a much better job of containing the basketball.”
Mosley worked a give-and-go with Eric Reed to break Monroe’s press and give FLCC a 62-60 with a little more than 10 minutes on the clock. It was the Lakers last lead of the game.
For the Tribunes it became a matter of consistent execution as FLCC switched defenses coming out of free throw situations showing MCC a variety zone looks (2-3, 1-3-1).
The Tribunes countered with interior passing from the high post to the block.
“We were very patient with the passes,” Carter stated. “When the big man would catch it at the top, he would wait for the other big man to seal, and he would dish it right in. It was an easy layup for us every time.”
Colvin-Seldon finished with 13 and a game-high 11 rebounds. Devonte Dixon and Kewan Platt chipped in with 11 points apiece.
Williams handed out a game-high six assists. The Tribunes finished the night with 17 dimes on 31 made field goals while committing 12 turnovers. The Tribs forced 14 miscues which they used to a 17-9 advantage in points off turnovers.
Mosley notched a game-high 27 points. Scarbrough had 22 and Range 19. Range fouled out with 5:43 remaining. FLCC hit 27 of 35 free attempts to MCC’s 18 of 22.
Monroe hosts Northern Virginia Community College in the MCC Kickoff this Friday. An 8 p.m. tipoff is scheduled. The tournament continues on Saturday when Monroe hosts Schoolcraft for a 3 p.m. start.