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IVC tops Victor Valley

November 18, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

A year ago, the Imperial Valley College men's basketball team only won three games the entire season.

On Saturday in El Centro, IVC matched last year's win total with a 79-70 victory over Victor Valley to improve to 3-2 this season.

"We came in and anticipated a slugfest with them in the first half," said Arab coach Nick Gehler. "This was just a good team win. I was really proud of them. This is the type of win we need to build off."

Through the first half the teams battled back and forth and midway through the second Victor Valley started to pull away, but the Arabs made some adjustments, shut down the Rams' offense and turned around things.


"In the first half Victor Valley played really well and played their tempo. We didn't do anything poorly in the first, but we didn't do anything exceptional either," said Gehler. "Then in the second half we made some adjustments and just came out with a spark. We started playing our tempo and got some things going. I never felt in jeopardy at all."

Leading the Arabs' second-half turnaround were Brandon Warner with nine of his 15 points. Nabil Mebarki added 14 points in the game, Michael Jayne had 13 points and Nate Moore added 11.

The leading scorer for Victor Valley was Kenyatta Kariem with a game-high 21 points.

While Gehler pointed to adjustments he made in the second half, Ram coach Joel Lewis pointed to adjustments he didn't make as the difference.

"We were up by six and we just didn't continue to do what got us that lead," said Lewis. "We made some mental mistakes and we just didn't make adjustments when we needed to."

After battling with the Rams through most of the first half, the Arabs went on a five-point run to take a 29-24 lead. Victor Valley outscored IVC 8-4 in the final four minutes to close to 33-32 at the intermission.

As was the case in the first half, the sides battled back and forth in the second before the Rams went on an 11-3 run to take a 52-46 lead with 12 minutes, 33 seconds remaining.

IVC battled back and outscored Victor Valley 24-11 in the final eight minutes to get the win.

"I think we were all a little tired after our game on Friday. But then we just picked it up in the second half," said Mebarki. "At half-time coach told us that all we had was 20 minutes to go and that we needed to get that eye of the tiger. Then we just got fired up for the second half.

"This was a very big win for us. After Friday's loss we needed this win to get back over .500," said Mebarki. "This was a an entire team effort. Everyone helped out in this win. We all played as a group, not as individuals. We need to play like this the rest of the year."

On Friday the Arabs lost 90-81 at Barstow College. Nate Moore led the team with 16 points followed by 14 from Tyrese Watkins and 12 from Shane Pollock.

IVC will play at College of the Desert in Palm Desert at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

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