City College men’s basketball started off fast in its home opener but Bakersfield fought back and cruised to a 89-65 victory in front of an energetic crowd at the Sports Pavilion.
City College led most of the first half despite being out rebounded throughout the entire game. Bakersfield began to take more advantage of City College’s mistakes and extended the lead in the second half.
“We definitely need to box out better,” said sophomore point guard Drayten Howell (No. 12). “We did an excellent job of executing in the first half but it didn’t quite translate into the second half.”
City College started off hot right out of the gate. Freshman guard Aaron Mejia (No. 23) hit three consecutive three pointers and the team went on an 11-4 run.
The City College guards were pushing the pace, trying to get easy transition baskets.
“Coach really stressed about advancing the ball so we were trying to get the ball out as quick as possible and get the wings to make some plays,” said Howell.
Howell was constantly trying to find teammates for good shot attempts. He had five assists for the game.
Bakersfield took its first lead late in the first half but City College responded to any run Bakersfield went on. Howell hit a three pointer at the first half buzzer to keep Bakersfield’s lead at just four and finished with 16 points.
The second half was all Bakersfield. The team went on a run that City College could not bounce back from and continued to dominate the offensive glass.
“I thought we were competitive but I thought the game was decided on the offensive boards,” said City College head coach Morris Hodges. “They had 25 offensive boards and we have to respond better.”
Hodges feels the team can fix the mistakes it made throughout this game. He was impressed with the way the team started and with the decision making of Howell.
“I thought his floor leadership was better, his decision making, when to go and when not to go. I think he started to elevate his decision making tonight.”
Freshman center Dejon Jackson (No. 45) was the leading scorer and was a bright spot in the second half. He scored from the post and battled on the glass against a Bakersfield that had a lot of size.
Jackson had 20 points and 10 rebounds.
“It was hard, I’ve never played against guys like that,” said Jackson. “It’s a challenge but I like it.”
Turnovers, rebounding and foul trouble were what mainly hurt the Vaqueros this game because their offense played well.
The team did seem to look a bit loss when Howell left the game because of foul trouble.
“Me personally got in foul trouble. That hurt ourselves and kind of put us in a tank. Then they went on a run and we didn’t bounce back fast enough.”
City College is still in search of it first win and it hopes to get it Friday, Nov. 17 against Napa Valley at the Allan Hancock Tournament.