SMC men's basketball pummels Barstow in opening tournament game

If you judged the Santa Monica College Corsairs mens' basketball team's performance from how head coach Jerome Jenkins' men walked off of the floor of The Pavilion at Santa Monica College on Friday night, it would have been fair to assume that the Corsairs had just completed a ho hum win over a nameless opponent.

There was no great celebration from sophomore forward Admassau Williams who lead the Corsairs with 17 points on 6-8 from the floor and 62 percent from the charity stripe.

To watch freshman guard Derrien King leave the court, you wouldn't know that he fell two rebounds short of a double-double, ending the night with 15 points and eight rebounds.

Only a glance up at the scoreboard would reveal the drubbing that the Corsairs gave to the Vikings. The final: 101-74.

Despite the final score, celebration simply wasn't earned.

Though the Corsairs put up triple digits on the Vikings and improved their record to 3-4, SMC had its spell of defensive woes and periods of poor play epitomized in the last 30 seconds of the game when, while trying to run out the clock, SMC stepped out of bounds and committed a turnover before time expired.

It helped, however, that the Vikings couldn't put the basketball in the ocean if they were riding the Pacific Wheel, shooting 43 percent from the floor and only making 12 three pointers the entire game.

"I'm never happy with our happy with our defense," Jenkins said.

The Corsairs couldn't rebound cleanly on either end of the floor and gave the ball away 16 times, which would have been a problem against a team that is now 1-7 and sitting at the bottom of the Foothill Conference.

However, Friday night's victory demonstrated that the team is developing a bit of mental toughness, bouncing back from a 110-74 loss at the hands of the Mt. San Jacinto Eagles.

Though it is a young team, Jenkins feels that there are opportunities for the squad to get better.

"We're just growing right now. We have a tough schedule and every game we want to get better," Jenkins said.

That growth will face a true test as the Corsairs will now face the Rio Hondo Roadrunners who are coming off an 89-77 victory over the El Camino-Compton Center Tartars in their opening game of the SMC tournament.