by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
Kansas City Kansas Community College’s Blue Devils went on their biggest scoring rampage of the season Thursday but not before surviving a spectacular long-range aerial assault.
Saint Mary’s junior varsity knocked down nine 3-point goals in just 15 attempts (.600) and had a 5-point lead with three minutes left in the first half before the Blue Devils surged to a 112-70 win. In a game of two halves, KCKCC needed a late flurry to gain a 44-41halftime lead, then held the Spires without a 3-pointer in 15 tries the second half.
“We’ve got to be able to put two halves together and be more consistent,” KCKCC coach Brandon Burgette said. “I think we have been overlooking our opponents. We have to realize we have to play hard against every team we play.”
The Blue Devils scored a season high 68 points in the second half on 67.5 percent shooting (27-of-40). Defensively, they forced 27 Saint Mary turnovers which resulted in 42 points.
Seven Blue Devils scored a dozen or more points led by freshmen Deron McDaniel and Jaemaal Newman. Newman recorded his first double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds while McDaniel just missed a double-double with 19 points, nine assists and four steals.
Ezekiel Lopes added 18 points, Jermaine Yarbough 16, Calvin Slaughter 13 and DeAngelo Ball and Jalen Davis 12 apiece. Three of Yarbough’s seven field goals came on thunderous dunks while Slaughter had three treys and Lopes and McDaniel two each.
Trailing 37-32 with three minutes left in the half, KCKCC went ahead at the break 44-41 on a 3-pointer and a layup by Davis in the final 25 seconds, then broke the game open in the first two minutes of the second half. Yarbough ignited a run of nine straight points with a pair of short range goals, Slaughter drilled a 3-pointer and Ball added a layup for a 53-41 lead and it was never close again.
“We picked up the pressure, sped them up so they couldn’t get good shots,” Burgette said.
The second half included 18 assists on 27 field goals and a season high 29 for the game. In addition to McDaniel’s career high nine, Slaughter and Bell had five and Davis four.
“The guys stepped up when their numbers were called,” Burgette said. “The second half we were unselfish. We were selfish the first half.”
The 67.5 percent second half shooting enabled the Blue Devils to finish with 44-of-79 for 55.7 percent. They also led in rebounding 41-37. In addition to Newsom’s 10, Yarbough had six rebounds, Tim Barbieri and Slaughter five and Lopes four.
The Jayhawk Conference race is next up for the Blue Devils (7-11), who open play at Labette Wednesday and host Hesston Saturday, Jan. 25. Weather forced postponement of KCKCC’s scheduled home game with Park University junior varsity today. That game has been rescheduled for Monday, Jan. 29, at 7 p.m.