New Mexico Junior College's Nathan Fromm takes a shot Monday night during the Thunderbirds' game against New Mexico Military Institute in Caster Activity Center.
The New Mexico Junior College men's basketball team kept the pace with the rest of the Western Junior College Athletic Conference leaders by beating New Mexico Military Institute 98-63 in Caster Activity center Monday night. The win was the fifth straight for NMJC.
The T-Birds started the second half with an 11-point lead, but the always tough NMMI needed just 88 seconds to cut it down to five points. As quickly as NMMI trimmed the lead, the T-Birds were able to get it back. NMJC used a 18-4 five minute run to go up by 18. With 11:11 to play, Hobbs graduate Clay Strasner pushed the T-Birds' lead to 20 points, 68-48.
New Mexico Junior College followed Strasner's bucket with a 13-0 run, pushing its lead to 33 points with 7:40 to play. From that point on, it was nothing but T-Birds.
The T-Birds had five players score in double figures and two players finish with double-doubles.
Malik Mooving had a double-double for NMJC. He led all scorers with 18 points, 10 of which came in the second half, and also handed out 12 assists. Darnell Rogers chipped in 17 points and Dimitri Diara had 12.
Gideon George and Nathan Fromm carried the T-Birds in the first half. George had a double-double, scoring 134 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in the first 20 minutes. The Nigerian native also had three dunks in the first half. He finished the night with 15 points and 15 rebounds. As for Fromm, the sophomore from Alaska had a pair of treys and 11 of his 14 points.
"(George) is unbelievable," NMJC coach Luke Adams said. "I really credit to the guards who were trying to create for each other."
While the T-Birds led the entire first half, keeping the lead was not easy. After building up a 10 point lead with 11:33 left in the first half, NMMI clawed its way back into the game, cutting the T-Birds' lead all the way down to one point, 33-32, with 6:29 left in the half.
"Our rotation was really bad in the first half," Adams said. "We were late and we were to far or too close to our man and that is not our defense."
However, by the end of the half, NMJC had re-established its double figure lead, going into the break up 48-37.
"Basketball is a game of runs," Adams said. "They kind of went on a run at the very end of the first half and I called a time out. I told them lets increase this lead and once we started just buying in and said alright, enough is enough, lets get our heads together and play for each other, we became the most aggressive team."
With the win, NMJC won all three matchups this season and completed the season sweep of NMMI.
"It's tough," Adams said of beating a team three times in one season. "The biggest part is the mental side of it and the team changes. Just like we have gotten better, (NMMI) has gotten better and they are well coached."
The T-Birds improve to 18-6 on the season and 7-3 in Western Junior College Athletic Conference play. NMJC currently sits in a tie for third place with Clarendon College in the WJCAC. South Plains (8-2) is in first while