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IVC falls to Palomar

January 06, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

IMPERIAL — It was the same old song for the Imperial Valley College men's basketball team in its Pacific Coast Conference contest with Palomar College here Saturday as a strong IVC start turned into a 79-69 loss.

The loss was the Arabs' 12th of the season, but for a good part of the game IVC hung with the defending PCC champion. The Comets had a slight height advantage, but the Arabs turned that into a non-factor.

What hurt IVC was the inside-outside game of Palomar. The Comets adjusted their offense to the Arabs' defense and let the inside game open the outside shooting attack as Palomar nailed eight three-pointers.

Comet coach Virgil Watson said letting the IVC defense dictate his team's game plan was an adjustment, not a plan.

"We just had to take what they gave us. When their defense collapsed on us inside we kicked it outside. When they took away our outside game, we took it back inside," said Watson.


"You have to give them credit, though. They played extremely hard and they didn't give up," said Watson of the Arabs.

IVC started the game on a tear, taking a 10-2 lead with Marvin Williams scoring six for the Arabs. The eight-point lead was the biggest for IVC and turned out to be its only lead of the game.

The Comets outside game came to life as five of its next six buckets came from behind the three-point arc. Spearheading the charge was Charlie Mercado, who nailed three treys to help Palomar take a two-point lead.

Mercado was someone for whom IVC coach Nick Gehler tried to prepare his team.

"I told them during practice and before the game about him, so we knew what he could do," Gehler said. "Mercado just killed us."

Mercado ended up killing the Arabs for 27 points (five three-pointers).

IVC hit only three three-pointers, but what was lacked outside was made up down low as most of the Arab shots were within seven feet of the basket. Leading the Arabs' offense was Alonzo Blackman with 14 points.

With less than three minutes in the first half the Comets used an 11-4 run to take a 43-32 lead into the intermission.

The squads battled in the opening minutes of the second half with Palomar maintaining a double-digit lead.

IVC got back into the contest with 10 minutes to play as a Herles Atchison dunk sparked a 10-0 burst to pull the Arabs to within 66-62.

The Comets responded with a 10-0 barrage. Mercado led that spurt five points.

The Arabs did score five straight to pull within nine, but Palomar held off IVC to get the 10-point victory.

Atchison finished with 10 points and two rebounds and Blackman added five rebounds and three steals.

Said Gehler: "Tonight I think we were just about two shots and two stops from maybe winning this one. We didn't have any defensive stops when we needed them. And we missed a lot of open shots.

"Even though we lost by 10, I think this is probably the best we've played in awhile. We're getting better, but we know and everyone knows we're still a work in progress. We just need to learn how to win."

IVC (3-12 overall, 0-2 PCC) returns to the court at 7 p.m. Wednesday as it hosts MiraCosta College.

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