The New Mexico Military Institute Bronco basketball team started off the season on the right foot, jumping past the Jegos of Tohono O'odham Community College, 81-58.
It was the second game of the 2019 NMMI Classic Basketball Tournament, a round-robin affair on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 1-2, to tip-off the season, with four teams competing. Conference opponent Frank Phillips College survived a late run by Strength 'N Motion International in the tourney opener, 81-66.
NMMI was down early due to missed shots from the field and trailed 10-4 after the first four minutes of play. But their stingy play on defense kept the Jegos from breaking out to an insurmountable lead. After the initial first-game jitters wore off, the Bronco offense starting clicking, spurred on by a huge block from Institute 7-foot-1 center Osborn Shema. Shema got the bucket on the other end of the floor after an assist from point guard Andrew Cotton, cutting the Jego lead to two, 10-8, with 15 minutes left in the first half.
Shooting guard Kylin Robinson then went a three-point tear, raining a trio of treys in the next minute a half to give NMMI a lead they'd never relinquish.
Good shot selection, great defense and impressive rebounding paved the way to an NMMI lead at halftime, 43-26.
The second half was more of the same with NMMI contesting every Tohono pass, and gobbling up anything left on the glass. Particularly impressive on the boards was small forward John Mapiou. He had 16 rebounds on the night to lead the Broncs, including 10 on offense.
Top scorer for the Institute was Robinson with 21. He went 5-for-8 from behind the arc, but also showed his ability to play inside with a dunk and dribble-drive for four of his six points in the paint.
Cotton topped the team in assists with 11, nine of which he accumulated in the first half alone.
Forwards Furaha Cadeaux and Zachary Bates both came close to getting the coveted double-double: Cadeaux scored 10 points and collected eight boards; Bates poured in 14 and pulled down eight.
On Saturday the Broncos defeated Strength N' Motion International 78-63 to sweep their two games in the Bronco Classic.
NMMI's biggest lead in the first half was 16 (31-15) off of a 14-3 run by the Broncos. The leading scorers in the first half were Furaha Cadeaux and Jeremiah Barr with eight points each.
The Broncos extended their lead against Strength N' Motion right away in the second half. Strength N' Motion made one basket in the first 10 minutes of action in the second half. NMMI went up as much as 29 points (58-29) in the second half.
NMMI had four players reach double digits in the game led by Furaha Cadeaux with 16 points. Jeremiah Barr collected 12 points and Andrew Cotton and Osborn Shema each had 10 points. The Broncos shot .508 percent in the game and out rebounded Strength N' Motion 42-33. Zachary Bates rebounded seven basketballs for a team high in rebounds.
"Good start to the season," said head Bronco basketball coach Sean Schooley. "I thought our defense kept us moving in the right direction both games. We can still improve on our defense, but for the most of the weekend we played great defense. I'm proud of the guys and I think they can be a really special group."
The Broncos next games will be in Midland, TX in the Midland Classic on Nov. 7-9. NMMI's next home game will be on Nov. 13 against Planet Athletic Prep in Cahoon Armory Gym at 7:00 PM