Auburn, ME- Much is made of a team's home court advantage and the thrill of playing in front of passionate fans. In cozy Kirk Hall- that advantage is like none other. In front of a loud, capacity house, the Mustangs brought their game tonight beating rival SMCC 72-57 in Yankee Conference action in Auburn.
The challenge for both teams was to communicate when the gym was at the top of the noise meter. Kirk Hall was so loud, coaches had to scream at players in time outs and players had trouble communicating with one another on the court. This was an incredible atmosphere to play a basketball game.
For the first three minutes of the game, CM looked like a deer caught in the headlights. Outscored 7-0, the home team looked to leader Rob Skinner to take charge and Rob responded. Two Skinner baskets later and CM went off on a 25-2 run to take a 25-9 lead. Both teams battled throughout the rest of the half with CM holding the lead at halftime 38-25.
Fortunately, the Mustang starters got plenty of rest in the first half as Sheveran Hardy, Cornelius Lawhorn, Jonathan Moore, Nick Bagley, Anthony York, Kionno Nelson, Zavier Roman and Akeem Laurie came off the bench and played quality minutes. In fact, the lead was maintained under their watch.
Throughout the second half, CM fought for loose balls, missed shots and shared the ball as skillfully as CM teams in the past. At the eight-minute mark, SMCC made a run after two Mike Harmon treys to cut the lead to 10 points. A Skinner three put the lead back to 13 points at the five-minute mark. The Sea Wolves again came down and knocked down a Ryan Cloutier three to cut into the lead. A minute later, Kionno Nelson followed with a baseline jumper that finished the visitors.
Pietro Badalassi led the Mustangs with 18 points and 8 rebounds. Skinner played his usual steady game adding 17 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists with 5 steals.
CM finishes the semester with a record of 10-4.