NMMI Sports Press
The New Mexico Military Institute Bronco men's basketball team picked up their seventh win of the season, galloping past the University of the Southwest JV team, 89-48.
After building a 33-8 lead in the first 11 minutes of the contest, head coach Sean Schooley gave copious amounts of playing time to his bench.
"It was a good night for us and it was good for the guys to just relax and play after the big, hard-fought wins this weekend," said Schooley.
"We had two games at the South Plains College Classic where we played Coastal Bend on the first night. We didn't play extremely well, but played good enough to win by ten, 70-60."
"The next night we played Panola College," continued Schooley. "They were ranked 13th in the country and had just come off a win against South Plains College, the fourth-ranked team in the NJCAA."
Panola had already beaten Odessa and Clarendon this season, two other teams in the Broncos' conference.
"It was the kind of game I like," grinned Schooley. "We played extremely hard-nosed defense and won a low-scoring affair, 58-55. I looked up after twelve minutes had expired in the first half, and the score was tied 12-12. I knew that if we could keep that type of a game close, we'd give ourselves a good chance to win, because we are athletic and can shoot the ball pretty well – better then we have in a long time."
That pair of road wins did more than just improve NMMI's win/loss record.
"The win was a huge confidence booster for everyone," explained Schooley. "And I think made our guys believe in what we are trying to do as we move forward into conference play."
Against the Mustangs at home, the goal of NMMI's 30+ year veteran coach was just to continue to improve and get everyone used to the pace and tempo of the college level of play.
"Tonight vs. USW, we were just trying to get some kids into rhythm," said Schooley. "As an example, Jermane Carter is coming off a serious eye injury and having to play with a mask. I know he doesn't think he did well against Panola, his first game back, but he got some lose balls, got some rebounds. So down the stretch, I told our point guard Jonah Chavez to keep feeding him the ball, to try and get him going offensively."
Next up for NMMI will be a pair of games in Arizona at the end of next week. They then will open up conference play, at home, against Clarendon on Dec. 4.
"So we get them tuned up and ready to go, then they go home for the holiday break and come back rested but rusty," opined the coach.
"But I really enjoy this group. I really like their chemistry," continued Schooley about his entire squad, both players and staff. "I think they enjoy being around each other. And they are starting to really buy in and understand what we are doing. A lot of that is testament to them and their character, and lot of credit needs to go to coach Will Joyce. This is Coach Joyce's first full recruiting group and he has worked extremely hard and done an outstanding job."
Schooley knows, however, that there's still a lot more games left to be played this season, and a lot of improvements to be made.
"There's not enough time to tell you all the things we still need to work on," laughed coach. "But I think we can really improve on our rebounding. With Jermane coming back, and if 'D' [Furaha Cadeaux de Dieu] stays out of foul trouble, our rebounding average will go up."
But Schooley also thinks he's got all the right pieces to maybe make a run this season.
"We really have most everything a team needs," posited Schooley. "We've got size, we've got shooters, we've got guys who can certainly defend, and we have a 7-footer named Osborn Shema – an extremely talented player, not just because of his size and athleticism, but because he is coachable, selfless, and a quiet team leader. Unfortunately, we'll only have Shema for one year; his ceiling is very, very high and he's being heavily recruited."
Schooley also thinks the mix of youth and older players will have a positive effect as well.
"We're also an older team, and that helps. We don't have a lot of experience, but our ages are a little bit higher than some seasons. I like my guards. [Sophomore transfer] Andrew Cotton runs the show and his assist to turnover ratio is solid. But we do have some true freshman, like Kylin Robinson, who shoots it from 40 feet and will drive you crazy, but you gotta love him, as he can get you some quick points, just like he did tonight and against Panola."
"All-in-all, I think we are in a good position," finished Schooley. "The conference is wide open. It's anybody's game, top to bottom, and each team is going to have to protect their home court. And if you don't come to play defense, you are going to be in trouble."