NMMI Sports Press
The New Mexico Military Institute men's basketball team played their first game after the winter holiday break, dropping a close Western Junior College Athletic Conference match to New Mexico Junior College, 64-55.
The Broncos struggled on offense at times against the T-Birds, but the Institute defense kept the match close even when shots weren't falling on their home court in the Godfrey Athletic Center.
"We did what we wanted to on defense, kept NMJC to under 70 points," said head NMMI coach Sean Schooley. "That's what we have to focus on, because our offense, well, it's comes and goes."
NMJC built an eight-point lead after NMMI started the contest by going 1-for-8 from the field, but the Broncos turned the tide to take three-point lead at the two-minute mark in the first half.
At halftime it was anyone's ballgame, tied up at 26-26.
During the second period, NMMI again held a brief a three point lead with 13:17 left, but the T-Birds went on a pair of runs over the next seven minutes, making it a 10-point margin, 59-49, with just under four minutes left in regulation.
"In the second half, with about six or seven minutes to go, NMJC made a pretty good run on us," explained Schooley. "We battled back hard at the end, but they are a very good team – one the best in the conference – and that let-up and it cost us. It was just a four-minute stretch where they were better than us."
"We cut the lead to four to give ourselves a chance," continued Schooley. "I'm proud of the guys for that. But we've got some things we've got to correct. I think we took some questionable shots at the end, and we also didn't finish shots at times when had the chance around the basket."
Three Bronco players tallied double-digits in points during NMMI's sporadic offensive effort, topped by 15 from their seven-foot freshman center Osborn Shema. Shema also ripped down 15 boards for the Broncos and blocked a trio of T-Bird shots.
"There's a reason he's being recruit by everybody," smiled Schooley. "He does anything you ask of him. If I asked him to run the point, he would. He just brings a tremendous attitude and effort which filters down to affect everyone on the team."
"The guys are giving us the effort, I can't fault them for that, but we'll have a film session tomorrow where we'll have to be pretty thick-skinned," said Schooley, quickly adding that he'll also be looking to see what he could have done better as a coach.
"There's no time to feel sorry for ourselves," finished Schooley. "We go to South Plains College on Thursday, and it just doesn't get any easier. But I constantly remind the guys that every game is an opportunity, and that we're not out of anything yet."
NMMI moves to 8-6 overall and 0-2 in conference and will search for their first WJCAC win on the road in Levelland, TX against SPC at 6:30 P.M. CST.