The MSJC men's basketball team went on the road on Wednesday night and came away with a key victory in the Inland Empire Athletic Conference as they defeated College of the Desert 80-71.
It was a spirited game on Wednesday night as both teams are clinging to hopes of making it into the CCCAA Regional Tournament that begins in two weeks. The contest was highly competitive from the opening tip with neither team ever holding a double digit lead in the contest. The game was tied twice and the lead changed hands a pair of times, but for the majority of the game it was the Eagles clinging to a small lead. MSJC led at halftime 36-35 and never surrendered the lead in the second half despite the Roadrunners cutting the deficit to two on several occasions.
Jamaal Barnes continued his stellar play over the past several games as the January Inland Empire Athletic Conference Athlete of the Month scored a game high 26 points. Mekhi Hill was also very good for the Eagles as he had a double double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, he also had 7 assists, a game high. Lenzell Simmons came off the bench to provide a spark for MSJC with 10 points and 5 boards as the Eagles out rebounded Desert on the night 49-41.
The win moved the Eagles into sole possession of second place in the league standings at 10-4, they are 14-12 overall. Desert fell to 15-10 on the season and 7-6 in IEAC action.
The Eagles have just two games remaining on their schedule as they travel to Palo Verde on Wednesday February 19th and then host San Bernardino Valley on February 21st. San Bernardino currently sits at 8-5 in the conference standings a game and a half behind the Eagles for second place. The Wolverines will play at Victor Valley Saturday and host Barstow on the 19th prior to their showdown with the Eagles on the 21st.