Wilmington, NC - A strong second half on both ends of the floor helped Cape Fear men's basketball extend its winning streak, defeating Johnson Community College 103 to 75. Alonzo Tyson led the Sea Devils with 19 points, 12 rebounds, and four blocks, while Alston Davis finished with 19 points, and 16 rebounds.
The Jaguars jumped out to an early lead, attacking the hoop aggressively. On the other end, the Sea Devils struggled shooting to start the game, going just 3-12 from the field in the first six minutes. However, two early 3-pointers and a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line from Cape Fear kept the score close.
Cape Fear began pressing full court to create turnovers. Their teams defense improved midway through the half, but they continued to struggle offensively, and committed sloppy turnovers. A mini-run developed with under 10 minutes remaining to give Cape Fear an eight point lead, but a few bad possessions let Johnson CC back in.
Despite poor shooting, Cape Fear maintained the lead by controlling the boards. They outrebounded Johnson CC 18 to 10 in the first half, and held the Jaguars to just two offensive rebounds, while totaling eight on their end.
The Sea Devils opened up a 32-23 lead with under four minutes remaining, but the Jaguars responded as the half ended, cutting the score to just one point with 30 seconds remaining. However, a 3-pointer by Jerick Haynes as time expired gave CFCC a 37-33 lead at halftime.
While Cape Fear dominated the boards and created a number of second chance scoring opportunities, they committed 16 turnovers in the first half, resulting in 9 points for the Jaguars. Even though Cape Fear improved in the second half, head coach Ryan Mantlo didn't like the way his team started and played in the first half.
"I thought we were very lackluster to start the game, we just didn't come out with the energy we needed. I thought defensively we were okay, but just really sloppy with the ball with 16 turnovers in the first half."
However, things picked up in the second half, as the Sea Devils opened with an 8-0 run to take a 45-33 lead. Tyson was active down low, scoring six quick points. He got easy scoring chances as Cape Fear's guards attacked the hoop, which forced defenders to help, and opened up Tyson in the paint.
Johnson CC managed a small run, but it was short lived, as the Sea Devils picked it up defensively, and knocked down open shots. A 3-pointer by Trae Bryant with about 14 minutes remaining gave the home team an 18 point lead.
Cape Fear's focus in the second half was to feed the post. Whether feeding Tyson or DeVarte Watson, the emphasis on the post led to the early second half run. As a result, other areas of their offense opened up.
This emphasis is something head coach Ryan Mantlo wants to see more of the rest of the season.
"As we continue on this journey we've got to learn how to play through our posts. We've got two very good posts, and the more we can get the ball inside out the better."
As Cape Fear's offense improved, their defense picked up as well. The Jaguars scored just 10 points in the first 11 minutes of the second half, as the Sea Devils made it difficult for them to run their halfcourt offense. While he felt they could have done better, Mantlo saw improvement on the defensive end.
"We're getting there. We allowed 75 points, which is still too much, but I can see progress, and that's the most important thing."
Cape Fear controlled the rest of the game, building on their lead. They took better care of the ball, committing only five turnovers in the second half. After a poor shooting first half, they managed to shoot 45.6 percent from the field, and 40.9 percent from the 3-point line. They out rebounded Johnson CC 52 to 26, and outscored them 52 to 46 in the paint. Five players scored in double figures.
The Sea Devils improve to 15-2 on the season with the win. Their next game is scheduled for Friday, January 20th, where they will take on Brunswick Community College at home as part "CFCC Corporate Night." Game time is set for 6:00 p.m.
Courtesy of Nick Denning