SAN DIEGO — Back at full strength with the return of Brandon Newman, Imperial Valley College also had a highly motivated Josue Mulamba against Miramar in a Pacific Coast Athletic Conference game Friday night.
They were both trouble for the Jets. Mulamba had 16 points, 13 rebounds and five blocked shots and Newman added eight points and five assists in a 55-43 victory on Miramar’s court.
The 6-foot-10 Mulamba altered twice as many shots as he blocked. He was 8 of 9 from the field, four of them slam dunks. Mulamba also took a vocal leadership role on the court, calling out to teammates to cover shooters.
“Josue played well,” Newman said. “We got him involved offensively by penetrating and getting him the ball and he showed up playing tougher than usual on defense.”
Mulamba used the Arabs’ (12-4, 4-1 PCAC) loss to Grossmont on Wednesday to fuel his energy.
“I didn’t feel good about the last game,” he explained. “I played a little bit differently. I was stronger and moved faster.”
With the exception of Mulamba, the Arabs didn’t shoot well. They were 6 of 22 on 3-pointers (27.6 percent). Take away Mulamba and IVC was 12 of 32 (37.5 percent) from the field. They were 9 of 12 at the free throw line.
“I thought we did a better job than Wednesday of playing hard, playing physical and playing through adversity,” IVC coach Tyson Aye said. “We didn’t shoot well. Our defense and rebounding won the game. Josue was a force. The shots he didn’t block, he changed. I thought our guards did a good job covering their shooters.”
The Jets (2-12, 1-5 PCAC) made 23.3 percent (17 of 69) of their field goal attempts and were 7 of 30 (23.3 percent) on 3-pointers. Miramar shot only four free throws making two. It also had only six turnovers to 14 for the Arabs.
Newman, Imperial Valley’s leading scorer with an 18.1 average entering the game, had missed four straight games and hadn’t played or practiced since Dec. 16. He’d been away attending to a personal problem.
“It felt good to get back on the court,” Newman said. “I hadn’t played in 2 1/2 weeks. I played OK for not playing for a while. My legs weren’t completely underneath me.”
Mulamba enjoyed having Newman back, too. Newman penetrated three times late in the first half and dished it to Mulamba, who turned two into stuffs and one into a layup.
“I thought he played great coming back from being gone,” Mulamba said.
The Arabs also had a solid game from guard Travis Alexander, who scored 10 points. He had a critical bucket that stopped a Miramar run with six minutes to play.
Imperial Valley opened up a 40-27 advantage, but the Jets scored seven straight to get within six.
With Mulamba screening on the perimeter, Alexander went down the lane and made a 180-degree spin to score on a short jumper shot. Nate Williams followed with a lay-up on an assist from Newman and Mulamba knocked down a 10-foot jumper for a 46-34 lead with four minutes left.
Darius Singletary scored eight, Melvin Cook seven, Kris Cook four and Williams two for IVC.
The Arabs play their next game Wednesday at home against San Diego Mesa.