BROCKTON, Mass. -- You couldn’t fault Brockton coach Bob Boen if his voice sounded a little hoarse after his team’s 88-74 win over Big Three rival New Bedford Tuesday night.
For the entire game, it seemed as if Boen was bellowing out to his players, pleading for them to slow down and play under control. Luckily for the hosts, his players listened, as their poise in the second half led them to an 88-74 win.
Up by six points at halftime, the Boxers (7-2 overall, 2-0 Big 3) fed the post on their first two possession of the third quarter and got five points out of it, capped by an old-fashioned three-point play by junior Jamal Reuben (10 points, nine rebounds). New Bedford never seriously threatened after that, slicing the deficit down to five at one point in the third quarter but never getting closer than nine in the fourth.
“We talked about being a little calmer on offense,” Boen said. “That first half we really didn’t run much. We were lucky; we made some good shots and got some good breaks. Second half we did say we want to calm down, we want to run some plays, get the ball inside and get some shots off the board. That’s exactly what we said at halftime.”
As has been the case in recent years, the Boxers had a balanced scoring sheet with four players hitting double-digits. Senior guard Alain Lenord led the way with 22 points. His 12 fourth-quarter points put any New Bedford (7-2, 0-1) comeback hopes to bed, as he drained a pair of 3-pointers off assists from sophomore point guard Jaylen Blakely (nine points, five assists) and buried all six of his foul shots.
As a team, Brockton made 19-of-23 shots from the charity stripe, while New Bedford struggled at a 15-of-28 clip.
Treace Macklin and Sayvonn Houston (six rebounds, four blocks) each finished with 10 points for the Boxers.
Senior Jules Tavares led the Whalers with 26 points and junior Cameron Walker added 20, but Brockton never allowed the visitors to get comfortable in the half-court set and there were only a handful of uncontested buckets. Senior Lance Burlingame was a force on the glass with 20 rebounds but New Bedford had trouble finishing inside.
As it tends to be when these teams meet up, the game was played at a furious pace, as the teams combined for over 140 shots. But Brockton was simply more efficient, hitting 31-of-70 attempts from the field and 7-of-18 from beyond the arc compared to the Whalers’ 25-of-73 and 9-of-27.
“A lot of bad shot selection,” New Bedford coach Tom Tarpey said. “We haven’t done that all year, even against St. John’s Prep. We didn’t run our offense. It was too much standing around. Guys were just standing around, trying to do it themselves. I think when we faced a little adversity they thought they could take it themselves. We’re too good of a team for that. We’ve got to have everybody touch the ball, have a couple ball reversals. That’s when we’re at our best.”
While the Whalers clearly weren’t, the Boxers were close to it. If they can maintain that level of play through February and March, opposing coaches will be the ones losing their voices.