BY Curtis Ashley
Two conference games in a row? No problem for the City College Men’s basketball team. After their big win against CSI earlier in the week, the guys get their second straight win, defeating the Cougars of Medgar Evers College 101-81.
A lot happens for City after a win like this. First, it is City’s second game this season scoring over 100 points. The first came in their win over Manhattanville on December 30th. City has not done this in over seven seasons, adding to what has been a remarkable year for them thus far. City’s record improves to 9-5 overall, 4-3 in the CUNYAC. They find themselves back in the middle of the pack, at fifth in the conference. The win over Medgar Friday night is their third straight against the Cougars, with the 20-point decision being the largest of the three.
After the disappointing loss to Lehman on Sunday, CCNY has put together two impressive wins to bounce back. And there’s a correlation between the two. It’s the combination of sophomore guard David Solano and junior guard Khalil Hamer. The two have been productive all season long, and it’s safe to say that productivity helped City get the win in both of the key conference match-ups.
At CSI, though both Solano and Hamer were known for their scoring, each was a threat in a specific area, and the stat sheet shows exactly where. Solano was a threat from beyond the three-point line, while Hamer was an offensive administrator, leading the team in assists. In Friday’s game against Medgar, these characteristics transcended. Solano ended the night with 20 points, making 6-of-9 from downtown, the most of the team. Hamer finished with 19 points, and had nine assists, the game high.
Both were key players, but Solano’s performance truly put City over in the game. The Beavers started the game off exactly how they wanted to, going up by as much as 19 when they led 24-5. But after a Medgar timeout, momentum changed, and City lost control of the game for a bit. Medgar found themselves back in it, just down by three. That was about as close as Medgar came to the lead, because that’s when Solano started knocking down threes. Immediately after the three by Medgar’s Josh Manners, Solano made one to bring the lead to six. After a block by Solano, he would go on to score another three to put City up by nine. Both of his shots were off a Hamer assist. He never seemed to cool down in the game, going on to make three-point shots later in the game.
“Solano had a great game. It may be the best game I think I’ve ever seen him play here, collectively from start to finish, defensively and offensively,” Head Coach Tom Green said after the game. “We’re feeling good about ourselves, and winning does that for ya.”
“The difference between last year and this year, as far as shooting, is taking my time, and making sure the first shot I take is a wide open good look. Last year I rushed a lot of shots. This year I’m staying patient, I’m not getting mad if I miss a shot. I’ll make the next one,” Solano had to say of his own performance. “A lot of it has been mental, honestly.”
The guys find themselves having three days off until their next game, which will be against non-conference opponent Connecticut College. Beyond that, there is an interesting scenario going on in the CUNYAC, that involves City, and two other teams. It’s regarding the #4 spot in the CUNYAC, currently settled by CSI. In order for City to move into that spot, they would have to win the game against Connecticut, and CSI would have to lose to #1 Lehman on Saturday, January 9th. If this happens, both teams will be 3-3 in the conference, but CCNY will be the new #4 team. CSI’s overall record would become 9-5, while City would become 10-5, a game ahead of the Dolphins. It’s an interesting spot the Beavers find themselves in, and they hope to do their part to become fourth in the conference with a win in the Nat Holman Gymnasium, this coming Tuesday.