||Last Updated: Feb 4, 2015 - 12:35:55 PM
The Corsairs' offense dried up in the second half. And with that, so did their chances of winning a Golden Valley Conference title.
Leading by as many as 17 in the first half, the College of the Redwoods men's basketball team scored just 22 points after halftime as it watched Butte rally late for a 73-65 win on Saturday evening.
The Roadrunners, who entered the game atop the GVC standings with a perfect 6-0 conference record, outscored the Corsairs 37-22 in the second half.
Redwoods third-year head coach Justin Mora offered up a simple answer as to what happened to his team's offense after such a strong showing to open the game.
”We just didn't make shots,” said Mora, whose team fell to 4-2 in conference play and 14-8 overall. “We had eight points in the second half for a long time. It's how it goes. Give (Butte) credit, they did a good job on us in the second half. We just didn't score.”
Butte, the No. 11-ranked team in the state, extended its winning streak to 11 games and improved to 7-0 in the GVC and 17-7 on the season.
And against the top team in the conference, the Corsairs' offense couldn't afford to go quietly into the night.
But that's exactly what happened.
For a 10-minute span in the second half, CR managed to score just six points -- a Mitchell Hash putback and then two free throws and a pullup jumper from Johnny Shelton, who scored nine of his 15 points in the period.
”It just wasn't flowing for us,” Hash said in regards to the second-half struggles. “Some of the passes weren't going through and it kind of threw us off. They slowed us down a little bit from our run-and-gun pace, and that threw us off, too.”
The Roadrunners made their move with under five minutes to go, taking the lead for the first time at 57-56 on a pair Jud Sailsbery free throws.
CR momentarily took a slim 60-59 lead back when James Slade split a pair of free throws at the 3:29 mark, but Butte snatched it right back on a 3-pointer by Jamaal Davis and Sailsbery's right-handed scoop shot and deep trey from the right wing.
Justin Gavard scored a team-high 20 points for Butte. Sailsbery, who hit three of the Roadrunners' 11 3-pointers in the game, had 18 while both Davis and Nikolas Petruk added 12.
”That team is so well coached. They execute better than any team in our league,” Mora said. “They out-executed us in the second half, I thought. We didn't execute well in the second half, and that hurt us, too.”
In the first half, though, the Corsairs were definitely executing well.
They began the game on an 11-2 run, capped off by Hash converting a pair of baskets in the paint off slick inbound passes from Slade.
By the time the midway point of the opening half arrived, Butte had only made three field goals and CR stretched its lead to 24-9, making its presence on defense be known as well.
”We just got it going early,” said Hash, who scored 14 of his game-high 22 points in the first half. “We hit some shots and we all fed off of it. We were getting good stops on defense and that would turn into good offensive possessions.”
CR's largest lead of the night, 39-22, came on another quick burst. Hash's spin move and layup in the lane started the 7-1 run. And once Aaron Could hit a 3-pointer from the right corner, the Corsairs had the gym rocking.
”That's just our game,” Hash said. “When we aren't getting rebounds, aren't getting steals on the other end, it's not looking good for us.”
Sophomore forward Jon Losa scored all of his 10 points in the first half, while Slade finished with nine.
But now, instead of gunning for a conference title, the Corsairs are now forced to change their main objective on the fly -- get into the postseason. That begins on Thursday night when CR travels to Lassen for another key GVC contest.
”We have no time to hang our heads,” Mora said. “It's a tough loss, but we got to be ready to go. We're still right there and have a serious, serious shot at making playoffs.”
Butte 73, Redwoods 65
at College of the Redwoods
B 36 37 -- 73
CR 43 22 -- 65
B -- Davis 12; Parisi 2; Hurd 3; Gavard 20; Sailsburg 18; Caldwell 5; Petruk 12; Morningstar 2
CR -- Sullivan 2; Hash 22; Shelton 15; Cloud 5; Slade 9 ; Heidrick 2; Losa 10
B -- Davis 3; Hurd 1; Sailsburg 3; Petruk 2
CR -- Hash 3; Cloud 1
© Copyright College of the Redwoods
Top of Page