CONCORDIA, Kansas — The Cloud County Community College men's basketball team wasted little time taking a stranglehold of Wednesday's 90-69 victory over Allen County Community College.
Due to the quick completion of the women's game beforehand — a 92-55 blowout win of their own — the men's game tipped off approximately 10 minutes before its originally scheduled start time.
By the time 8 o'clock did roll around, the rout was already on as the T-Birds (14-14 overall, 8-10 KJCCC) opened on a 28-8 blitz through the game's first nine minutes during which they shot a sizzling 11-of-14 (79 percent) from the field.
"Attacking, especially in transition, was going to be our ticket toward a victory (Wednesday)," said Cloud County head coach, Jordan Altman. "The guys really bought into that right from the tip. It wasn't just that we shot the ball well, but we were getting easy shots at the rim."
Defense was a key component to the fast start as Cloud County limited Allen County (13-13 overall, 5-12 KJCCC) to an anemic 7-of-39 shooting (18 percent) in the first half, keying its defensive switches between man-to-man and a 3-2 zone around Red Devils' point guard, Perry Carrol.
"Their point guard (Carroll) is a really good player. I really respect his game and we knew we couldn't allow him to turn off ball-screens," Altman said. "I thought we did an amazing job of keeping him away from the rim and not letting him turn the corner off their ball-screen action. Then with him out of the game, we wanted to test some of their perimeter shooting so we adjusted our defense to when their point guard entered and exited the game."
Offensively, it was a familiar face leading the charge as redshirt sophomore Alvin Thompson tied his career high with 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting, with 17 points coming in the first half to help Cloud County build its 45-21 halftime advantage.
Thompson, Cloud County's leading scorer at 16.5 per game, scored in a variety of ways, finishing with a pair of 3-pointers, a 3-3 mark at the free-throw line, and an array of mid-range jumpers and high-flying acrobatics.
"It's (Alvin's) mindset, it's athletic ability that few have and then some of his last couple (baskets) were just sheer determination," Altman said. "He had offensive rebound put-backs and he drove through contact on a couple of them. He really showed what he had and his repertoire."
Thompson spearheaded what was collectively a great night scoring the basketball for Cloud County's starting five as they combined for 75 points, with four players in double figures.
Sophomore guard Jacob Shields finished with 14 points and five rebounds, sophomore forward Adetomi Ayilara added 12 points and two blocks, and sophomore guard Jerome Kidd Jr. chipped in 12 points and four rebounds.
Freshman point guard DJ Sims, coming off his career-high 21 points in Monday's win over Cowley College, also had a productive evening with nine points.
"It was really refreshing to see because, other than DJ, that's probably the most experienced lineup we can put out there," Altman said. "Jacob is a transfer and the other guys are (mostly) sophomores. You really hope that's a dangerous unit when you put that much experience together. And your one freshman (Sims) is coming off his career high, 21-point night."
Playing with just eight healthy bodies, all three reserves played key roles in Wednesday's victory, as well, with freshman guard Gabe Pieschl scoring six points, freshman forward Iyen Enaruna producing three points and six rebounds, and freshman Edoardo Del Cadia shouldering the heavy duties inside with six points and team-high 11 rebounds.
"Right now, we've got to have contributions from everyone. Bench, starters, (players) getting 13 minutes or 37 minutes, it doesn't matter; we have to have contributions," Altman said. "And tonight we got contributions from everybody on the team."
In addition to Del Cadia's work on the glass, the 6-foot, 8-inch Italian showed off some of his guard skills with a slick no-look pass late in the second half to a back-cutting Pieschl for one of his three assists.
"Edoardo has a little Magic Johnson in him when it comes to the passing," Altman jested. "I think I may have deterred that a little from him this season, but in the film recruiting him and what we've seen in practice he can throw some dimes."
The T-Birds will now turn their attention toward a 6 p.m. showdown with Independence Community College on Saturday in what will be the final road trip of the regular season.