By MICHAEL KELLY
Recorder Sports Staff
JOHNSTOWN -- In a three-second span of Thursday's 97-45 crushing of the Broome Community College Hornets, the Fulton-Montgomery Community College Raiders showed off their intense athleticism and why men's basketball head coach Ed Collar still calls his club a "work in progress."
Already ahead 23 points with five minutes and change remaining in the opening half of the Mountain Valley Conference game, F-MCC's Khaleeq Baum rebounded a BCC missed shot and, without looking, fired his outlet pass off the back of a not-looking Kadeem Stanislas.
But before BCC could react, Baum recovered his errant pass and shoveled the ball to Stanislas, who found teammate Aaron Morton up the court. Without holding the ball for more than a millisecond, Morton rocketed a bounce pass to a cutting Baum for a layup.
In all, the play's positives and negatives took just a few seconds to transpire, something made possible by the Raiders' high level of athleticism.
"Once we get to the point where they realize they can use their gifts inside our system, that's when we (will) get to another level," said Collar. "We're still a work in progress."
Despite Thursday's 52-point thumping of the Hornets (1-3), Collar does not think his Raiders (3-1) have fully figured out how to harness their talents within his system. But, clearly, that grievance did not matter much against BCC.
Tied after a few minutes of play, the Raiders used an 18-0 run to break open the contest. In a game in which the intrigue centered less around whether BCC could mount a comeback than if F-MCC could reach 100 points, 15 Raiders scored and six players scored at least eight points.
Morton led the Raiders with 15 points, while Tyshawn Dinkins had 13.
Controlling the tempo for F-MCC was point guard Ibrahima Diallo, who scored 11 points. Diallo said it was sometimes difficult to keep things running smoothly in such a high-octane attack, but the floor general said that the Raiders knew they could handle a high-speed game better than the Hornets.
"Just go out and run -- and get the win," Diallo said was his team's focus.
The Raiders were able to run throughout the contest, as F-MCC out-rebounded BCC, 52-29, and forced the Hornets into 25 turnovers with its full-court pressure.
"We want to be one of the best teams and, in order to do that, you need to play very tight defense," Collar said.
"When we play defense, it leads to our offense," Stanislas added.
Lloyd Saunders led BCC with 11 points, but he needed 10 shots to get those points. Saunders also added a team-high eight rebounds.
F-MCC raced out to a 57-23 lead at halftime, but declined to loaf through the second half. While the Raiders -- to some extent -- reined in their fast-break offense, F-MCC played hard until the final buzzer, outscoring BCC by 18 points in the second half.
"I thought our second half was just as focused as the first half, and that was a credit to the kids," Collar said.
Still, Collar could see little things the Raiders need to improve; on-the-ball defense could have been tighter, he said, and help defenders were late rotating a few times Thursday night.
"We're not even close to our ceiling," Collar said, an ominous message for the rest of the MVC.