By: Joshua Gerard Gargiulo
PHOENIX - Backcourt of Phoenix College shows out, with forward Darius Goudeau notching a double-double. But lack of guard and frontcourt presence drops Bears’ to 0-1 in conference play.
Without their second-leading scorer and leader in FG%, Deron Kyle, sitting due to injury. Sophomore guards Kenny Sutton and Darius Goudeau had to fill a key role in last night’s game. With both players scoring 20+, Phoenix College’s chances relied heavily on how much of a presence their big-men would be.
The Bears game plan faltered, quickly, in the beginning. A three, by Dustin Bankowski of Glendale; followed by a three from Darien Knowles, out-the-gate, saw the home team up 6-2 early. But a few, quick misses from the Gauchos gave way to a Darius Goudeau three, bringing the Bears within one.
Despite two quick baskets for Glendale, the team was off to a rather slow-start. The visiting Bears’ capitalized on the home team’s lackadaisical play; and with five Bears’ scoring in the first 5-minutes, Phoenix College was looking at an optimistic 15-8 lead- on the road.
Ten fouls, in the first six minutes, kept the game at a stalemate; until about 14-minutes flat, when a slew of Glendale substitutions changed the tempo.
A, Trey Mitchell turnover led to a defensive foul by Ahmed Levon on Glendale’s Dustin Burkowski. Burkowski sunk both free-throws. A few possessions later, two missed free-throws by Alfredo Fuentes, and a failed put-back from Ahmed Levon gave the ball right back to the Gauchos. A, Trey Mitchell foul on the other end, gave Darien Knowles two freebies. He easily converted on both; bringing the lead within two. The game was beginning to take a tailspin- downward.
Just as the Bears begun to lose the lead, Darius Goudeau found his hot-hand. Getting to the line, followed by a three on the next possession, the Bears were keeping their distance- for the moment. But the holes in their offense began to show. As the missed opportunities, down low, had started to pile up.
Despite a 19-point and 7-rebound first-half, for forward Darius Goudeau. Eight, total missed shots from Phoenix College big-men, and sheer lack of fundamentals saw the Bears’ finishing the half down by five.
“Statistically, we beat them across the board,” Coach Duane Eason said. “But when you miss as many shots, from the line; and from in-and-around the basket. That right there, explains why this game was so close.”
The Bears finished the game 41% from the field, and a woeful 22-40 (55%) from the line.
Starting the second half, the Bears saw a three-pointer for Darius Goudeau and three free-throws from Kenny Sutton keeping them in contention. Rebounding for Glendale quickly became an outlying factor in keeping the lead. As Darien Knowles and Joshuwan Johnson each grabbed three more rebounds, feeding Landon Griffith and Myles Malachesen to balloon the lead to ten.
As the game wore on, the woe’s continued. Plenty of rebounds came the Bears way; but with such, little success finishing inside 5-feet and from the line, the Bears were caught playing catch-up.
Following a miss from the line, by Bears forward, Michael Walcott; Gauchos Ian Jackson and Darien Knowles converted on four-consecutive shots, pushing the Glendale lead to fourteen, 69-55.
The Gaucho’s remained in control; until about 6:00 minutes left, when Darius Goudeau scored his 29th and 30th points, to cut the lead to ten- again. But even as the momentum swung, all game, the Bears hardly led in the match-up. Furthermore, the man keeping the Bears’ so close, bowed out after scoring a two-pointer with 4:10 left; only scoring, a mere, two points in his final four minutes.
Despite efforts from his teammates, including a 6-point run by Kenny Sutton. Turnovers by Alfredo Fuentes and Habib Arogundade gave Glendale the opportunities they needed to keep a distance.
The Bears’ looked beat-down, with 2:00 minutes remaining. Until a clutch, Trey Mitchell 3-pointer cut the lead to four points, with 1:35 remaining. Habib Arogundade was fouled, on the following possession; but missed two, critical free-throws.
Following a multitude of turnovers; and eventual foul by Darien Knowles. The Bears had Kenny Sutton at the line, with: 30 seconds remaining.
After missing his first shot, a make-or-miss would likely decide the fate of PC. Sutton stepped to the line for the second of two free-throws. As he went about his normal routine, Sutton cocked his elbow for the follow-through. Just as he rose his arms, the ball detached in a Markelle Fultz-esque way. After attempting to regain possession and hoisting up a shot, he was promptly whistled for a free-throw violation.
The Bears could only watch, as a beautifully drawn-up play from coach Eason, set Darius Goudeau up for a wide-open three pointer. Despite a wide-open opportunity, Goudeau could not hit the game-winner; thus, ending the game: Glendale 92 - Phoenix College 89.
Coach Eason said, “physically, we are right there. I wish I could say it was physical. But it is a mental deficiency. Our guys are just not ready; especially our big men. And that has to do with them being freshmen.”
Eason knows that this group has potential; especially with players like Christiano Gomes and Alfredo Fuentes. He is also well-aware that his style of coaching is totally different, to an Arizona style-of-play. Something he, and his players, have been adjusting too.
“If I were to get a job coaching in New Jersey, and I coached the way I coached, it might be like going from 9am to 10am on the clock. Where here, in Arizona, it might be like going from 9am to 9pm on that same clock. It’s a totally different time of day,” Coach Eason said.
Eason wrapped up his post-game recap with a reflection on “work to be done.” He exclaimed that it’s a fortunate, and unfortunate thing, that it is so early in the season. Because our players “can improve from this,” but they also must deal with the consequences from these outcomes.
The Bears’ head into Thanksgiving Week-end at 3-3 (0-1 Conference). Their next game is at South Mountain, on Wednesday, November 28th, at 7:30pm. South Mountain Community College is located at: 7050 South 24th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85042.