January 29, 2015

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – The John A. Logan College men’s basketball team shot 60 percent from the field in the second half (20-of-33) en route to a key 97-82 Great Rivers Athletic Conference win over visiting Southwestern Illinois Wednesday.

The win avenges a three-point loss at Belleville from November. The Vols are now tied for the league lead with the Blue Storm at 7-2 and improve to 16-4 overall, while SWIC falls to 13-7 overall. Logan trailed 42-40 at the half and outscored the visitors 57-40 over the final 20 minutes.

“I thought that last 20 minutes…we were a pretty fun team to watch,” said JALC head coach Kyle Smithpeters. “When we get out on the fastbreak and move the basketball the way that we can, we can be pretty tough to stop. I thought our energy level was very good tonight.”

The Vols had to play the majority of the first half without its 6-foot-8 twin towers, Russell Woods and Jordan Martin, both sitting the bench with two fouls.

No worries.

Freshman forwards Ranell Crossland and Tamas Bruce filled the void quite adequately on the offensive and defensive end, keeping the Vols in the game. Sophomore guard Martavian Payne and freshman guard Devontavius Payne also stood tall, delivering a flurry of baskets.
“Our team chemistry is really good right now,” Smithpeters said. “Every game, it seems like someone new is stepping up and getting the job done for us. Defensively, we played much better in the second half. I think there was something like a 12-to-15-minute stretch where we held SWIC to 12 points.”

Martin said it was important for the Vols to defend the home court.

“This was a statement game for us,” he said. “We have so many different weapons on this team and we have each other’s back. We don’t have to worry if someone gets in foul trouble because we know we have the talent off the bench to get the job done.”

Martavian Payne paced the Logan attack with 20 points. Devontavius Payne followed with 18. Jeremiah Jackson provided a spark off the bench with 12 and Woods rounded out double-figure scoring with 11. Crossland and Bruce each finished with nine points. Connor Wheeler dropped in six. Martin had five. A.J. Riley netted three. Tyler Scott and Bobby Mannie accounted for two each.

Chris Galbreath led the Blue Storm with 17 points. RoMondo Ray added 15.

Logan returns to action at 3 p.m. Saturday at Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg.