NORTH EAST — For the first time this season, Cecil College crossed the century mark.
The Seahawks’ 108-88 victory over Baltimore City Community College was highlighted by the offensive performance of six Cecil players who combined for 74 of Cecil’s 108 points. Sophomore Zach Carter led the way with 16 points, while shooting 6-of-9 from the field and 3-of-6 from beyond the arc.
“I’ve had a couple rough games shooting wise and today it was clicking. We were moving the ball, my teammates found me when I was open,” Carter said. “Our point guard, [Frank Toney], found me in the corner to get me started and from there the shot felt good.”
Carter’s 16 points were accompanied by Dominick Carrington’s 15 points, Frank Toney’s 12 points, Marlon Lewis’ 11 points and a pair of 10 point outings by N’Fari Benjamin and Jordan Strickland. Strickland hauled in 10 rebounds and recorded his second double-double of the season.
Strickland, a sophomore, said Cecil Head Coach Ed Durham challenged his team at the half to play more aggressive on the glass.
“What starts off with offense. Rebounds,” Strickland said. “He told us to go attack the glass and that’s what we did.”
The Seahawks held a nine point lead over the Panthers at the half, before Baltimore City cut into its deficit and trailed 47-40 in the early stage of the second frame. The Seahawks countered with a 10-4 run to force a Panthers timeout with 16:18 remaining.
Cecil put together another 17-7 run out of the break and extended its lead to 74-51 with 12:36 left. The advantage gave the Seahawks breathing room and allowed Cecil to soar to its fourth win of the year.
The Seahawks shot 75% from the field in the second half, en route to an impressive field goal percentage of just under 57% on the night.
“If we have balance we’re very difficult to beat,” Durham said. “We made a little lineup change and brought [Zach Carter] and [Kevin Neal] off the bench tonight instead of starting them. Zach comes in and he is our leading scorer.”
Durham said his team looked to limit Baltimore City’s Alfred Carter from scoring the basketball. Carter entered the night as one of the top scorers in NJCAA Division I, averaging 28.5 points per game.
Carter scored 12 points in the first half and shot an efficient 4-of-8 from three-point land. The second half, however, was a different story as the Panthers guard shot 33% from the field and 2-of-8 from deep.
Carter finished with 21 points on a 7-of-18 shooting night.
“We said coming in their offense was predicated on transition,” Durham said. “[Carter] was going to dictate pretty much what they do and he got his points, but I felt we did a pretty good job of containing him, not necessarily early, but I felt like we did a good job making him earn stuff, especially in the second half.”
The win puts Cecil back at .500 (4-4) with the Seahawks visiting Howard Community College (6-0) on Dec. 1. Cecil’s roster is continuing to build its chemistry as is it returns just four faces from last season’s 27-4 squad that reached the Elite Eight of the NJCAA Division II Men’s Basketball National Tournament.
Strickland, a newcomer on the Seahawks roster, said being one of the new additions is fun and allows him to get a feel for his teammates and the team as a whole.
“You see how everybody acts, you see what they like, what they don’t like, spots they like to be in,” Strickland said. “You see how they like the system ran, they’ve been running it for years and it’s a tradition. It’s a fun experience.”
Durham hopes this win can help his team continue to gel as the season progresses.
“when we move the ball, share the ball, we can be very difficult to beat,” Durham said. “That’s kind of the first time we’ve actually done that. If we continue that path we can be very dangerous.”
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