Head coach John Mulhern said it best the next morning. “You missed a great game.”
If you weren’t in the Heap gymnasium on January 3 to see the men’s basketball team take on Howard College, then Mulhern’s words should really hit home.
Howard College is known as one of the big powerhouses among the Texas community colleges and Mesa was not expected to win by any means.
Yet key performances out of Jessie Childs, John Pena, and David Jackson showed that not everything goes the way it was expected, as
Mesa went on to win 99-92 in overtime.
Howard College came out shooting from the start as they shot a remarkable 60 percent from the field and 59 perccent from behind the arch.
Mesa, on the other hand, had a very slow start. The team managed to shoot only six free throws in the entire first half.
Starter Taylor Janowicz also got himself in early foul trouble, causing Mulhern to immediately go to the bench.
Having trailed the entire first half, Mulhern knew changes needed to happen.
“They have a great team. We knew we had to change things up at halftime, so we went with a different defensive strategy. Lucky for us, it worked,” said Mulhern.
The second half was almost a complete turnaround for MCC.
The team would shoot a stifling 80 percent from the free throw line on 29 shots. They also managed to shoot even better than Howard College did in the first half.
The 61 percent shooting from the field would be Mesa’s strongest half thus far.
David Jackson was lights out on the night as he shot a mind boggling 77 percent from the field on 13 shots.
He would finish with 22 points 10 rebounds, and four blocked shots.
John Pena came through big again as well as he produced 21 points and 6 steals on the night.
Off the bench, Tyler Molesworth proved to be the key factor in the game. He would make all three of his three pointers on the night, finishing with nine points.
Kennard Shaw also chipped in with 10 points on four of eight shooting.
Near the end of the second half, Mesa finally saw the light as they took their first lead of the game.
The tiring Hawks showed regression as the game went on, only shooting 36 percent from behind the arch in the second half—a drastic decrease from the first half.
“Once we took the lead, Howard College panicked. They began forcing shots,” said Mulhern of the late game happenings.
When the game went into overtime, it was Jessie Childs who took over.
He was repeatedly fouled and with his shooting from the free throw line, he would put the game out of reach.
He finished with an astounding 32 points on the night.
MCC has a 7-2 record for the season.