SACRAMENTO Calif.- Head Coach James Giacomazzi looks to win his 201st game tonight as Cosumnes River hosts Big 8 foe Modesto. The Hawks enter tonight's contest with an three-game winning streak, having defeated Delta 85-73 to move into first place.
Modesto enters tonight's game after losing a close one to the Sierra Wolverines on Tuesday night. The Pirates took a sizeable lead into the break, but struggled to score down the stretch, scoring only 18 points in the second half before losing 54-51. Modesto struggled through a difficult nonconference schedule, taking a 3-9 overall record into Big 8 play. MJC has played well in conference however, taking wins over Sacramento City and American River. The Pirates remain only a game back in the Big 8 standings, as CRC will look to create some distance between themselves and the Bucs in the standings. Modesto is led by sophomore guard Blake Terry. Terry, a 6'2" sophomore from Waterford, leads the Pirates 14 points a game on 49% shooting. Freshman forward Jake Danhoff and freshman guard Marko Lepovic are just behind Terry in scoring, as 9.3 points and 8.8 points per contest, respectively. Lepovic currently leads the Bucs in rebounding at just fewer than eight per contest. Freshman point guard Tristin Rodgers leads the Pirates with just under four assists per contest.
Cosumnes River looks to make it four consecutive wins when they host the Pirates tonight at 5:30. CRC opened conference play with consecutive losses, before defeating Sierra at home and rivals Sacramento City and Delta on the road. The Hawks took the lead early in the game, as both teams struggled from the field early on. Neither team scored through the first three minutes of the game, before CRC's offense began to find a rhythm. The Hawks pounded the ball inside against a smaller Delta lineup, as Donald Mims established himself early as an interior presence. Mims would finish the game with nine points on 4-5 shooting, while also contributing seven rebounds and a game-high seven blocks. Sophomores David Straughter and Mitchell Love also got into the action early, continuing their strong play. Love would score a game-high 21 points while Straughter contributed 20 points on the night, as Cosumnes River took control of the game early with efficient offense and outstanding defense.
The Hawks took a 37-29 lead into halftime, but the Mustangs would not get any closer, as CRC pulled away early and pushed the lead quickly to double-digits. CRC would lead by as many as 21 points, and led by 16-plus points for most of the second half, as the Hawks defense did an outstanding job of keeping the Mustangs from getting into a flow offensively. Delta looked to extend the game in the final six minutes through fouling, but the Hawks were efficient from the free throw line, and kept the Mustangs from every pulling too close. Sophomore point guard Josh Dela Cruz went a perfect 8-8 from the charity stripe, scoring a career-high 20 points on the night, contributing four rebounds and six assists in the process. Delta was looking at a 20-point loss before sophomore guard Jordan Belasco exploded for 17 second half points in the final minutes. Belasco fouled out down the stretch, as the Mustangs dropped the contest against Cosumnes River at home, 85-73.
The win marks head coach Giacomazzi's 200th win as a head coach. Coach Giacomazzi has served as the Hawks head coach for 11 seasons. Before taking over for the late Jim Clark in 2004, he served as the head assistant coach at San Jose City College under Hall of Famer Percy Carr. Giacomazzi coached the Jaguars for seven seasons following a standout career at UC Riverside. A product of the California community college system, Coach Giacomazzi began his intercollegiate athletic career at San Jose City College, where he played for two seasons before transferring to UC Riverside.
Straughter recorded a team-high 10 rebounds for his fourth consecutive double-double, and his seventh of the season. Love added four rebounds and four assists to his game-high 21 points. For the Mustangs, Belasco once again led the way with 17 points on the night, all scored in the second half. Forward Troy Anderson recorded a double-double, scoring 15 points while adding a game-high 15 rebounds. Delta out-rebounded the Hawks 39 to 36 on the strength of 24 offensive rebounds. The Hawks will look to improve that rebounding margin tonight when they play host to Modesto.
CRC opens a two-game road trip next week when they take on Santa Rosa on Tuesday to close out the first half of conference play. The Hawks will return home the following week, when they host crosstown rival American River on Tuesday.