JOHNSTOWN – With school not yet in session, the Raider’s Den was empty and energy was lacking both on the court and in the stands.
Combine that with haven’t having played a game in more than a month, and the Fulton-Montgomery Community College men’s basketball team looked rusty.
The one player who didn’t look as though he missed a beat was Tyshawn Jenkins, who returned to the court with a flourish, scoring a game-high 22 points and leading the Raiders to a 73-60 win over Columbia-Greene Community College on Thursday.
“Without Tyshawn, we don’t win this game,” FMCC coach Ed Collar said. “He shot the ball well, but the biggest thing was his energy. On defense, he got everyone energized because we were kind of flat being the first game of the semester. He really got everybody going.”
The Raiders also were shorthanded, playing with only nine of their 14 players, making Collar use players more than he ordinarily would have, like Carlos Rivera.
“I thought Carlos Rivera gave us some good play and focus in the second half,” Collar said. “He solidified things in the second half and played more minutes than he’s used to.”‘
But it was Dinkins who carried the day, being the loudest player on the floor, directing the Raiders’ defense and channeling what little energy there was in the Raiders’ den.
“It took a little while [to get into the flow of the game],” Dinkins said. “The biggest thing our coach was stressing was energy, focus and consistency. That was the first thing I was thinking about all the time. I just wanted everybody to feed off the same energy.”
Dinkins gave the Raiders (9-5) their biggest shot of energy with his offense with 14:28 left in the game, putting the Raiders ahead to stay with a 3-pointer that gave them a 43-42 lead. The shot started a 13-0 run that gave FM a 55-42 lead.
“My team started feeding off the same energy. We were all talking and diving on the floor getting those loose rebounds. That’s what we needed the most.”
Dinkins knocked down four 3-pointers in the game.
“I came out and my coach told me to just play my game and be comfortable,” Dinkins said. “My point guard told me if I had it, shoot it, and I listened. It was a good shooting game for me.”
Collar said the Raiders had trouble holding those leads during the first semester of play. In this game, they didn’t allow the Twins (7-8) to pull any closer than five points.
“I was impressed with that because sometimes in the first half of the season, our tendency was to get up by 10 or 11 and then let up and let the other team back into it,” Collar said. “It’s a good sign that we finished out the game strong.”
Aaron Morton finished the game with 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for a double-double.
Kevin Phillips led the Twins with 15 points, while Khalil Paul had a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds. Mak Buck added 10 points.
With the Raiders’ first game of the second semester behind them, the Raiders will move on quickly as they are scheduled to face Adirondack Community College at 1 p.m. Saturday. The Raiders beat Adirondack, 69-58, on Nov. 6. They also play Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday before having Friday and Saturday off.
“This was very important,” Dinkins said. “We’ve got to make a statement so we’re going to try to make the biggest statement out there.”
Fulton-Montgomery Community College 73,
Columbia-Greene Community College 60
Halligan 3-1-7, SaintJean 1-2-4, Williams 2-0-5, Shivers 2-2-6, Phillips 4-4-15, Paul 5-2-13, Buck 3-2-10. Totals: 20-13-60.
Williams 1-1-4, Jack 3-2-8, Dinkins 7-4-22, Rivera 3-0-6, Baum 1-0-2, Stanislas 4-0-8, Gist 0-2-2, Barr 1-2-4, Morton 5-4-17. Totals: 25-15-73.
Halftime: FMCC, 34-32
3-point goals: CGCC 7 (Williams, Phillips 3, Paul, Buck 2); FMCC 8 (Williams, Dinkins 4, Morton 3).