JOHNSTOWN - If one group doesn't perform to expectations, give the next one a shot.
That's exactly what Fulton-Montgomery Community College men's basketball coach Ed Collar did Thursday night as he swapped in his second group, which injected a little bit of life into the Raiders, who were sluggish after the first four minutes.
But after that, the Raiders broke a 6-6 tie with an 18-0 run and cruised to a 97-45 win over Broome County Community College.
Fulton-Montgomery Community College’s Aaron Morton shoots over Broome Community College’s entire defense during Thursday’s men's basketball game at Fulton-Montgomery Community College in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Mike Zummo)
"Lately, we haven't been pushing like we normally do," said Ibrahima Diallo, who scored 11 points from the point-guard position. "We decided to come out here and push the tempo and get the win."
After the slow start, Collar took out three of his starters and subbed in a slightly smaller lineup that was able to quicken the pace of the game and force the Hornets (1-3) into making mistakes.
"We came out with the starters. They weren't blocking," Collar said. "They weren't intense and they weren't down on defense. So we took them out right away. Then the second group came in with a lot more energy."
The Raiders (3-1) forced Broome into making four turnovers during the initial 18-0 run, and the Hornets committed 22 turnovers in the game.
"We like to play defense," said Kadeem Stanislas, who scored 10 points, grabbed a steal, and had seven rebounds. "When we play defense, it leads to offense."
The Raiders continued to pour on the offense and took a 57-23 lead at the half. With the game's outcome a virtual certainty after 20 minutes of play, Collar was initially concerned about a letdown in the second half.
However, he said the team was talking about keeping the pressure up during the second half before the coach had even entered the team room.
"[We] just [wanted to] stay focused on defense and close the paint because we don't want anyone scoring in our paint," Stanislas said. "Just keep strong and don't give up."
The Raiders turned up the tempo even more in the second half, even too much for themselves at some points as the committed several turnovers when they lost control of the ball as they were running. They committed 12 turnovers in the game.
"I think being that we're all freshmen, we've got to prove to ourselves. We have to show out and get that nervousness and out of us and play, and take it a game at a time."
By the time Thursday's game was over, the Raiders had a 52-point lead, holding the Hornets to 45 points, their lowest total of the year.
"We don't only want to be a good team; we want to be one of the best teams," Collar said. "In order to that, we have to play extremely tight defense, extremely tough defense all the time. That was our focus tonight."
Aaron Morton led the Raiders with 15 points and five players, including Diallo and Stanislas, who finished in double figures. Tyshawn Dinkins scored 13 points and Derrick Cook had 11.
Lloyd Saunders led Broome with 11 points.
"We're young; we're athletic, but the focus on every possession hasn't been there yet," Collar said. "The good thing is we're not even close to our ceiling potential."
Fulton-Montgomery 97, Broome 45
J. Johnson 2-0-4, Porham 1-2-4, Stewart 3-2-9, Saunders 3-5-11, M. Johnson 0-1-1, Dadzie 0-1-1, Ryan McMurray 3-0-7, Berry 1-6-8. Total: 13-17-45
Williams 1-0-2, Simmons 2-0-4, Irizarry 3-2-8, Dinkins 5-0-13, Rivera 1-0-2, Baum 2-0-4, Diallo 5-0-11, Stanislas 5-0-10, Ward 1-0-2, Cook 3-5-11, Robinson 2-0-4, Mann 0-2-2, Barr 1-1-3, Morton 5-5-15, Lopez 2-2-6. Totals: 38-14-97.
Halftime: 57-23 FM
3-point goals: Broome 2 (Stewart, McMurray); Fulton-Montgomery 7 (Irizarry 2, Dinkins 3, Diallo, Barr).