For The Win! Three Strong Quarters Propel CMU Past Leech Lakers
Isaiah Cole and Seth McKenzie combined for 52 points on Saturday night, as CMU scored their first regular season win of the 2019-20 regular season 97-82 over the Leech Lakers.
Trailing 19-17 at the end of the first quarter, the visitors appeared to be respond with their own basket each time CMU drew even on the scoreboard. Antonio Brown had a hot hand for the Lakers, scoring a team-high 21 points with all seven made-baskets coming courtesy of the long-ball. Brown would score on 7 of 18 from beyond the arc in a game where both teams would attempt more than 40 shots from 3-point distance.
McKenzie, Cole and Binh Nguyen would prove to be the primary threats from outside for the home team, as the three perimeter scorers shot the Blazers into their first lead early in the second quarter. McKenzie and Nguyen would finish the game with 6 made-threes each contributing to a total of 25 and 18 points respectively. CMU shot an outstanding 39.1% from deep through four quarters.
The Blazers put the peddle to the medal in the third quarter, returning from the locker room with an 8-point advantage. After Pacifique Jubilate completed an old-fashioned three-point play mid-way through the period for three of his season-high 15 points, CMU would take their largest lead of the game, 27 points, winning the third quarter 30-17. Jubilate was outstanding on the glass, grabbing 12 first half rebounds and finishing with a game-high 19 while adding a steal, an assist and 3 blocked shots to his stat line.
Pulling the strings in the Blazers' offence was new point guard Kalvin Mendez who made his NIAC regular season debut on January 10th versus Red River, scoring 21 points. Though the Lakers held the 5'7 point guard to just 6 points, Mendez made his mark against Leech Lake in the assist column, dishing out 13 helpers with only 3 turnovers in 38 minutes.
The win pushes CMU out of the cellar of the NIAC men's basketball standings with 1 win and 6 losses, leaving only the Oak Hills Wolfpack and newcomers Neuta Hidatsa Sahnish Storm stuck with a zero in their win column. The Blazers travel to face the Storm in New Town, North Dakota on Saturday and Sunday before returning to Manitoba to end the month with a home and home series against MCAC rivals, the Providence Pilots.