BY Curtis Ashley
Just one day after the team suffered a disappointing loss against St. Joseph’s College, a game they should have won, the City College Men’s basketball team turned things around in their game against Manhattanville College on Wednesday afternoon. An explosive first half performance by the Beavers put them over the Valiants, while the second half only capped off the 106-85 win.
The guys end the 2015 calendar year with a record of 6-4 overall, while still being 2-2 in the CUNYAC. The win also brings their home record back to .500. This is the the team’s fifth win in seven games.
In previous games, including the loss to St. Joseph’s on Tuesday, CCNY has started slow, unable to build a huge lead early on. Wednesday’s game versus Manhattanville was an entirely different story. City scored first, after a shot by Khalil Hamer. They went on to have a 13-2 run to open the half, and City led the entire game after Hamer’s opening basket. Their largest lead of the first half came with just under seven minutes to play, when they sported a 21 point lead. The Beavers shot .639 from the field in the first half. Hamer led the team in scoring in the first, with 13 points. They were on-target from deep as well, hitting 5-of-10. David Solano was the main threat, going 3-for-4 from beyond the arch. City ended the half with a 15-point lead, the score at 54-39.
The second was just more of the same, regarding scoring and all-around production for City. The team continued the onslaught on offense, and picked up their defense as well. CCNY pushed their largest lead to 30 in the second half, when they went up over the Valiants 81-51. Three-point shooting, good fast-breaks, and heavy defense helped City keep a decisive lead over Manhattanville. The closest Manhattanville got to getting back in the game came early in the second half, when they trailed by 16. But CCNY ended any hopes of a comeback, playing smart basketball until the last second.
Every player on the roster got playing time, and scored a basket. Bilal Braktia scored his first three college career points in the second half of play.
“When I got in the game, I was a little bit nervous,” Braktia mentioned after the game. “Once you get in the game, it’s all different. The nervousness went away and I was just playing ball.”
Khalil Hamer ended the game with 17 points and 7 assists, each of them the game high. He was proficient on offense, hitting two from downtown, and was also locked in defensively, getting two steals and a block.
“We got a good warm-up, and I think the big factor in today was that we came out aggressive,” Hamer said.
“He’s the quarterback on the court,” Head Coach Tom Green had to say about Hamer’s performance, in not just Wednesday’s game, but for the season overall. “If he plays well, we have a chance to win.”
Hamer was not the only one dialed in from the floor. Six players from CCNY had a double-digit scoring total, including Ram Chadha and David Solano with 14 points each, Robert Dionisio and Darius Rhodes with 13 points each, and Mark Richards with 12 points. It wasn’t a free-for-all either. The team was more than willing to share the rock with each other, ending with a total of 20 assists.
This game marks the first time in over seven seasons that City ended with 100 or more points. It’s just another milestone in this breakthrough season.
Next week, the guys hope to add to their win total when they face Lehman College. Currently, Lehman is 9-2, 4-0 in the conference. A win against them would put the Beavers above .500 in the conference.
“Lehman’s got a really good team,” Green said. “We’re just trying to turn the page from 2015 to 2016.”
The game is on Sunday, January 3rd at 2 p.m. City hopes to keep the momentum going, and start the new year off right, with a big conference win.