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The Courier

College of DuPage's Student Newspaper

The Courier

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Chaparral Men’s Basketball Wins Over Wolves

COD made changes on both defense and offense to earn the win over their conference rivals.
Chaparral+Men%E2%80%99s+Basketball+Wins+Over+Wolves
Rachel Wagner

The College of DuPage men’s basketball team kept going shot-for-shot with Joliet Junior College on Feb. 1 at home. COD trailed by three points (37-34) after the first half, but taking control after defensive formation changes helped them build offensive momentum. Leading through the majority of the second half, the Chaparrals triumphed over the Wolves 88-85 to make their record 15-10.

“Last year, we dropped our home game against [the Wolves],” assistant men’s basketball coach Eric Garcia said. “As a staff, we were trying to be prepared and make sure the guys were prepared. I think we came out and executed very well. It was one of the first games we started playing man-to-man. That helped us stay with it, and then late in the second half we went [with] zone.”

Garcia elaborated on the decision to start the game with a different defensive formation than what they’ve been using against other teams, highlighting the difference their zone coverage made in the game.

Freshman forward Braylen Meredith stretches to make a two-point shot past a JJC guard. (Rachel Wagner)

“This year we haven’t been the greatest man-to-man team,” he said. “We’ve been primarily running our zone. Going into Joliet, we were trying to figure out ways to create some energy on our end. [Head coach Joe Kuhn] and I talked about going man-to-man, trying to get the blood flowing. It was a different showing than we have been. Later on in the game, we switched just to give them a different look. We had five straight possessions where we went to our matchup zone and [JJC] missed five straight shots and allowed us to get a nine-point lead late in the second half.”

Freshman guard Greg Strong reached a season-high 31 points and put up seven total rebounds. Strong also recorded three assists and one block. He said he anticipated performing well after consistently scoring his last few starting appearances.

“It was definitely one of those days,” Strong said. “I can’t lie. It all happened when I woke up, I ate a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and I just knew it was one of those days. Again, I don’t know if this was my career high, but this was my season high for sure.”

This was the Chaparrals’ fourth-straight game scoring more points in the second half than the first. Freshman forward Braylen Meredith racked up 18 points and made four total rebounds. Meredith also picked up four assists, two blocks and two steals. He described COD’s pattern of slowly building momentum as games continue.

“I feel like we have a tendency to just come out and be laggy,” Meredith said. “Then we come out in the second half and play better for whatever reason. We’re going to fix that. We’ve got to start coming out strong and just put teams away in the second half early.”

Freshman forward John Kurysz secured 13 points and put up six total rebounds. He also made two steals and one block. He said the Chaps’ offense is what helped them succeed over their conference rivals.

Freshman guard Ben Zielinski added six points and led the team with 14 defensive rebounds. He also led with five assists and made one steal. (Rachel Wagner)

“I feel pretty good about this win,” Kurysz said. “It was a rivalry game, and we got to make our coach proud. That’s really all that matters, making him happy and making us happy too. We’ve been doing really well playing fast on offense; calm as well. Being fast and calm on offense led to good things for us.”

Sophomore guard Jayden Dean tallied 11 points and six total rebounds before fouling out late in the second half. He also added three assists and one steal. He said the game came down to wanting it more than JJC.

“We were just an overall better team,” Dean said. “We’ve got better players, better everything. That’s how we got the [win] today. We just wanted it more. We’re going to go at it in practice and just keep going. We’ll just keep doing what we’ve been doing and stick to the guns. We’ll keep winning.”

The Chaparrals look to extend their win streak to three as they take on the Kishwaukee College Kougars at 3 p.m. on Feb. 3 in Malta, Ill.

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