On Saturday, the Jamestown Community College men's basketball team recorded a 17-point NJCAA Region 3 Division II victory over Alfred State College, but after the game Jayhawks coach Mike Cordovano sounded like his team had been on the losing end of the score.
That's because his team played poorly, especially on the defensive end, against a team with a record below .500.
On Tuesday night, JCC lost to the Monroe CC Tribunes, 90-85, but Cordovano was pleased.
That's because Monroe came into the game leading Region 3 Division II with a 5-0 record and it was ranked fifth in the nation with a 17-2 mark. But the Tribunes had all they could handle as the Jayhawks led by 12 points late in the first half and were in front by seven with 7:30 left in the game.
''I just loved my team's resilience,'' Cordovano said after his team fell to 11-11 overall and 3-4 in Region 3 Division 2. ''We've been in games when we've played national (ranked) teams and we tend to run out of gas. But tonight, even without Kenny, we were short, but we did not run out of gas.''
He was referring to playing without sophomore starter Kenny Stokes who missed the game because of a death in the family.
''I thought a couple of times we didn't defend the ball real well one-on-one, but our kids never stopped playing,'' Cordovano said. ''I see an attitude and it's just about a young team maturing. I think we're a much better team than we were even two weeks ago. To play Alfred so poorly and then to come out here and play like this, it's there.''
Picking up some of the slack for the absence of Stokes was sophomore Omar St. John, who was playing in only his eighth game for the Jayhawks, with 15 points, five rebounds and three steals.
''Omar did some things offensively, but he's so raw,'' Cordovano said. ''If he keeps improving on the other parts of the game, we could be big trouble for teams down the stretch.''
Monroe coach Jerry Burns agreed.
''You look at their record and what are they, .500?,'' he said. ''That's not a .500 basketball team compared to maybe the way they were early in the year. They're growing into a good basketball team.''
And he knows about JCC because the teams met in the championship game of The Post-Journal Classic on Dec. 16. The Tribunes won that game, 74-59, and Dallas Gary was named the most valuable player, but he was sidelined on Tuesday with a broken thumb.
''I don't even worry about it because you don't have him,'' Burns said. ''So it's not even worth worrying about.''
So each team was missing a key player.
A couple of key players for JCC were freshman Davonte Dunham, who had 32 points, and freshman Tyreek Jewell, who finished with 22 points and nine rebounds.
''Davonte Dunham, he's a been a good player since the first game of the year, but his maturity, his mental toughness has been huge,'' Cordovano said. ''I'm just proud of him.''
Those two made an impact early as Jewell scored six points and Dunham five when JCC jumped out to a 12-7 lead in the opening 4 minutes. Monroe responded with a run of eight straight points to take a five-point lead, but the Jayhawks answered with a run of seven to regain the lead.
After seven minutes of play, nine Tribunes had already seen action and for a reason.
''I think it was the same thought process as the first time we played them, we try to wear them down,'' Burns said. ''They just didn't wear down as much this time.''
The Jayhawks were trailing by a point when they went on a 17-4 run to take a 12-point lead with 2:45 left in the first half. However, from that point Monroe outscored JCC 12-4 to trail by only four, 45-41, at halftime.
Cordovano took the blame for the Tribunes' comeback.
''The big one was when it was seven with about 50 (seconds left) and we went into two zone thinking they'll just hold the ball and take a last shot we can defend,'' he said. ''We fouled them, they score and then (after a missed foul shot) they get a putback. That hurt. I should have stressed to protect the basket a little more.''
Monroe took a slim lead early in the second half and then the game was tied three times. But with 12 minutes left to play, the Jayhawks were in front by seven, 68-61, after an 11-4 run with the first six points by Jewell and the last five by Dunham.
Monroe later had an 11-2 run to tie the game with eight minutes to play. St. John hit a 3-pointer with 7:30 left to put the Jayhawks in front by five, but soon the lead disappeared and they were never in front again.
JCC did pull within one with 45 seconds left, but couldn't get over the hump. And Cordovano thought some of it had to do with shot selection.
''There were a couple of times when they made a couple in a row and we shot a little quick,'' he said.
Malcom McNair finished with 19 points for the Tribunes while Ta-Quan Zimmerman had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Kenny Johnson also had 18 points.
The Jayhawks don't play again until next Tuesday when they host Mercyhurst North East in a Region 3 Division II game at 7:30 p.m.
Desir 2 0-0 4 Johnson 7 2-2 18, Josiah 3 1-2 7, Zimmerman 6 5-8 18, Hector 0 0-0 0, McNair 7 1-3 19, Williams 2 2-2 7, Fripp 8 1-3 17, Berry 0 0-0 0, Totals 35 12-20 90.
Dunham 10 10-10 32, St.John 6 2-3 15, Newell 2 4-4 8, Jewell 7 7-9 22, Forrest 2 0-0 5, Sterling 1 0-1 3, Totals 28 23-27 85.
Halftime-JCC 45, Monroe 41. 3-point goals-Johnson 2, Zimmerman, McNair 4, Williams, Dunham 2, St. John, Jewell, Forrest, Sterling. Total fouls-Monroe 19, JCC 17. Fouled out-Sterling. Technical-Fripp.