by Jakob Perez | Twitter: @JakobPerez
The Bruins officially kicked off their season last weekend playing two games back to back in their home arena. After a promising result in their scrimmage against Casper College, a game that saw the Bruins lead from start to finish, hopes were high going into the weekend. Salt Lake Community College took on Northwest College last Friday night and Layton Christian Post Grad, Saturday afternoon. Coach Kyle Taylor had his guys ready to play as the Bruins took down Northwest College 99-53 and followed it up by trouncing Layton Christian 118-54 the next day. SLCC rose above their competition in just about every stat in the box score but there were three key factors that helped the Bruins surge ahead to a 2 – 0 start.
The first thing that will catch any viewer’s eye if they’re watching SLCC play for the first time is the tenacious defense that they play from start to finish. They have no problem putting on a full-court trap for the entire 40 minutes of the game if necessary. Northwest College and Layton Christian both struggled with the way the trap sped up the pace of the game. It led to one turnover after another. It was in large part to this tactic that the Bruins were able to force 24 turnovers in their first game and a whopping 36 turnovers in the second. These turnovers led to easy offense for SLCC who were able to capitalize in both instances scoring 37 points off of turnovers against Northwest and 49 against Layton Christian.
2. Bench Depth
Running such a commanding defense throughout the course of a game requires you to have plenty of guys who can play in order to stay fresh. Lucky for Coach Taylor, that was not a problem. He was able to consistently work in a 12 man rotation without the offense skipping a beat. The Bruins’ leading scorer against Northwest College was Belgian sophomore Sam Hoffman who had 19 of SLCC’s 53 points off the bench. The bench also made a huge contribution in their game against Layton Christian where they poured in 65 points. Maks Klanjscek and Bendji Pierre both tallied 16 points and Freshman Jackson Last scored 11 points while shooting an efficient four of five from the field and hauling in six boards. For the Bruins it doesn’t seem to matter what five players get the start. In Coach Taylor’s system, every player is getting the chance to leave their mark on the game.
3. James Lee
A team as deep and as talented as SLCC doesn’t rely on one player to carry them to victories, they’ve proven to be centered around playing team first basketball. Despite this, there was one Bruin who managed to stuff the stat sheet in both of their games this weekend. Sophomore point guard James Lee had a strong outing in their season opener against Northwest College, he finished the game with 14 points on six of eight shooting and had four assists and eight rebounds to go along with it. This was followed by an even more dominating performance by Lee against Layton Chrsitian Post Grad where he led all scores with 22 points on 10 of 12 shooting. The D.C. native wasn’t just good in this game he was sensational. His athleticism and strength were on full display as he finished one acrobatic lay-up after another. Lee didn’t just get it done on the offensive side of the ball. He was a menace on defense, racking up five steals in each game. He will be someone Bruin fans are going to want to follow closely. Anytime he touches the ball, he’s a highlight waiting to happen.
SLCC is currently ranked the number 5 junior college team in the country. With how dominant they have been on both sides of the ball, don’t be surprised if they start to close in on the number 1 spot in the coming weeks.
You can vote here on our Twitter poll for your favorite junior college in the state!
Featured image courtesy Daily Herald