STOCKTON – After a dismal shooting effort from 3-point range in the first half, the Delta College men's basketball team recovered in the second to claim its first victory in Big 8 Conference action Friday at Blanchard Gym.
The Mustangs defeated the Modesto Pirates 80-61, while the Delta women clobbered short-handed Modesto, 104-27, to close out the doubleheader.
Delta men's coach Rich Ressa said the second half was much more productive after emphasizing shot selection at the break.
"We didn't lose confidence in our shots, we just wanted to make sure our shots were good," Ressa said. "Take the (3-pointer), but if we can get to the rim, get to the rim."
Delta's Travis August scored 16 of his game-best 20 points in the second half while teammates Jalen Valverde and Jimmy Beltz each added 12 points. Forward Spencer Montero had 11 rebounds and eight points for Delta (1-1 Big 8, 9-5 overall).
Both teams struggled from the field to knock down shots with the Pirates (0-1, 4-9) making just one of its first 16 attempts, a 3-pointer from Lodi's Benny Simi. Delta's 3-point shooting through the first 15 minutes was by far the worst over its 14 games this season, going 1-for-16 during that span.
With a slim 17-16 lead, Delta's Nikolas Levitt and Jimmy Beltz finally made back-to-back 3s. After the Pirates came back to tie the game at 23-23 with 1 minute, 35 seconds left in the half, the Mustangs scored seven of the last nine points for a 30-25 advantage.
The Mustangs opened the second half by going 7-for-10 from 3-point range and created a 57-40 lead with 11:05 left in the game. August said blocking out the dismal shooting in the first half is just part of the game.
"It's hard, but my teammates and coaches tell me to keep shooting so that's what I'm in the game for – to shoot," August said. "All of us as shooters have confidence in our shots and know that eventually they're going to fall, so we're just going to keep shooting.
"It's big, every game here in this league is hard to get a win so it's on to the next one," he added.
The Mustangs shot 38 percent from the field and finished 11-for-33 from the beyond the arc. That compares to 29 percent shooting by the Pirates, who were 8-for-29 from deep range.
In the women's game, Delta turned the majority of Modesto's 37 turnovers into fast-break points. They led 31-8 after the first quarter and extended their lead to 69-13 at halftime. Modesto had just five players.
Sankia Braxton led Delta (2-0, 12-3) with 19 points while teammate Donwanae Anthony scored 18. Kendall Weary added 13 points and Tymiko Patterson scored 12 points.