December 3, 2014

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Sophomore guard A.J. Riley was sensational off the bench Wednesday to lead the John A. Logan College men’s basketball team to an 83-57 rout of Kaskaskia College in Great Rivers Athletic Conference play.

The stat line will show that Riley finished with 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the floor and was 3-of-4 from the free-throw line. He was one of five Vols to reach double figures, but his impact on the game was much more profound than any stat line could indicate.

It was his inspiring play midway through the first half that helped Logan erase an early deficit and pushed his team to a 12-point lead at the intermission (38-26).

The Peoria native, who has signed a letter of intent to play ball at Eastern Illinois next year, had eight of his 15 points in the first half. More important, he brought a toughness to the floor that the Vols were lacking. Riley sliced and diced the Blue Devils’ defense with an array of shots, passes and rebounds.

“I was just trying to come in and get things started for us offensively,” Riley said. “We have a good team and it means a lot to me that my teammates and coaching staff have confidence in me.”

Whether he’s starting or finishing, Riley said he simply wants to make a positive impact with his team.

“Offensively or defensively…it doesn’t matter. I just want to help the team win,” he said.

Sophomore Martavian Payne was tops in scoring with 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the floor, including three triples. Yet another sophomore, Jordan Martin, followed with 13 points and would have had more had he not struggled from the free-throw line (5-of-12). Freshman Tamas Bruce and sophomore Russell Woods each tallied 11 in a reserve role. Bruce was also tops in rebounds with six and blocks with three.

Freshman Devontavius Payne accounted for nine points. Ranell Crossland totaled six. Connor Wheeler added two.

The Vols connected on 31-of-54 shots from the field or 57 percent. They were 5-of-12 from long distance (42 percent) and 16-of-28 from the charity stripe (57 percent). Logan outrebounded the Blue Devils 31-25.

Vols head coach Kyle Smithpeters liked the way his team performed, especially defensively.

“Offense has not been an issue with this team. Teams are going to have a hard time stopping us,” he said. “It’s what we do on the defensive end that will make the difference. Playing good defense comes down to playing tough and playing hard. When we make teams take bad shots and deny teams a second shot, we’re a good team.”