Team beats DVC at home after losing halftime lead


Xavier Johnson / The Advocate

Comet guard Evan Thompson (center) shoots a layup on Nov. 27 during the team’s 85-80 victory over Diablo Valley College in the Gymnasium.

By Kyle Grant, Staff Writer

Behind strong guard play in what’s primed to be another exciting season, the men’s basketball team held off a late surge by Diablo Valley College (3-4 overall in the Bay Valley Conference) Nov. 27 for an 85-80 victory.
CCC (3-4 overall in the BVC) entered the matchup with a record of 2-2 (0-0 in conference), looking to establish some momentum following a Nov. 24 victory over Butte College.
The Comets started hot, as point guard Eric Jones notched the game’s first assist after Evan Thompson got the Comets on the board with early 3-pointer.
After jumping out to an early 11-5 lead, in which all of its starters had registered at least a field goal, CCC used a number of different lineups, as Coach Miguel Johnson looked for his team to control the tempo.
He shuffled players in and out of the game, keeping at least one of his leading scorers on the court at all times.
“It’s still early in the season, so we can tweak the lineups here and there to see what works best,” Johnson said.
The Comets return to action Friday against Shasta College at 6 p.m. in the DVC tournament in Pleasant Hill.
The first half saw the Comets’ offense surge, with guard Evan Thompson leading the way. However, despite the Comets’ early advantage, an aggressive DVC defense responded to help keep the Vikings in the game.
DVC guard Mitchell Smith found his stroke, as his jumper found the bottom of the net three times before the half.
The Comet defense found it difficult keep him in check for the majority of the contest.
With a 42-28 lead at the half, CCC seemed to be on its way to its third win of the season.
However, the Comets started the second half slowly and saw their 14-point halftime advantage cut to single digits as the team appeared to take their foot off the gas.
DVC turned up its own offense in the second half and applied defensive pressure of its own to scrap back into the contest.
Johnson cited his team’s defensive lapses, admitting that play became somewhat sloppy in the second half.
The Comets shot only 33 percent from the field and began to rely on its 3-point shooting, perhaps too much, in the second half.
Over the same stretch, the Viking’s had better luck from 3-point range and gradually chipped away at the CCC’s double-digit lead.
The run also handed them their first lead of the game.
Sloppy defense by both teams during the last 60 seconds set the stage for a memorable finish. With just over 40 seconds remaining, the Comets found themselves up by just one point and DVC with possession.
Following a timeout, DVC’s Smith was fouled while shooting a 3-pointer. After draining all three free throws, CCC found itself down by two and called a timeout.
Coach Johnson drew up a play, assigning Steve Evans with the responsibility of inbounding the ball.
Just as it was drawn up, Evans was able to find CCC’s most efficient scorer that night, Thompson, who with two defenders draped over him, drained a corner three with just over 17 seconds left in regulation to put the Comets back on top.
Some defensive maneuvering by Johnson allowed the CCC to walk away with a hard-fought 85-80 victory.
When asked why Thompson was pulled from the game after hitting the game’s biggest shot, Johnson said, “It was strictly for defense. We needed bigger bodies and longer arms to prevent them from getting any more chances.”