By Chuck Livingston
The Evening Times Sports Editor
MSCC Sports Information
WEST MEMPHIS, Arkansas --- MSCC proved themselves to be superior finishers to their visitors from Rhema Bible College last night, and as a result, they made a bit of history.
In taking down an 83-70 win over the Eagles, the 2014-2015 edition of the MSCC Greyhounds became the first team in school history to win 10 games before the Christmas break, which will last until January 8.
"Tonight was our sixth game in 13 days, and it was a grind-it-out win," said Parker. "I felt like, especially in the second half, when we needed a defensive stop, we got it. We did a much better job tonight of clock management. I can't praise our guys enough for how we got this win."
MSCC's defense came up with 20 turnovers, while winning the battle of the boards 42-39, and limiting Rhema Bible College to a 25 of 71 shooting night from the field, a 35 percent mark.
The Greyhounds hit 58 percent of their shots (31 of 53) while turning the ball over 31 times on offense.
Six of White's 14 points came at an opportune time for MSCC, as the sophomore guard scored on three of four possessions in the second half to help the Greyhounds blow open a 62-62 contest, and ignite a 21-8 run that helped his team close the game out with a win.
MSCC led by four at halftime, 38-34, but were getting beaten on the boards (24-18) while turning the ball over 16 times, and Rhema had stayed close thanks to big opening halves from Alex Desir (nine points), James Byrd (seven points) and Dallas Doku (seven points). The Eagles also employed a full-court press during most of the night that gave MSCC fits.
"I think that fatigue played a part against that press," Parker admitted. "I know that we weren't as sharp as we were earlier in the season. But, I thought that there were times tonight that we actually executed better than we did earlier in the season, too."
The second half was a nip-and-tuck affair until White got the ball rolling for MSCC with his personal 6-0 run and Culbreath gave the Greyhounds a double-digit lead when he came up with a steal and a lay-up that was good for a 72-62 lead.
MSCC played a majority of the night with their post players battling foul trouble, as Jones, John Braxton, Marquavious Smith and Trent Steen all picked up three fouls or more. Jones actually finished his night with four.
"It's something that I know we need to work on," said Parker. "This is the second game in the past week-and-a-half where we've had most of our bigs in foul trouble. Our post defense is going to have to improve and we've certainly identified that."
While the means of winning the game may not have been appealing to some fans, Parker was ecstatic that his team notched its 10th win before the Christmas break.
"I think it's very significant and we talked to our team about that," explained Parker. "This is the first team that has won double-figure games before Christmas. It shows that we're making progress, it shows that we're on the right track to do what we want to do, and that's to compete for a national championship."
MSCC is off until January 8 when they host Southwest Tennessee in a doubleheader featuring the women's and men's teams. Tip-off of the women's game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., with the men tipping at approximately 7:30 p.m.