The Penguins maintained momentum until the end and snatched the win against the Umpqua Riverhawks Saturday night, 107-72, scoring 11 points within the first two minutes of the game.
“One of the things that we stress as a program is trying to get a fast start,” said assistant coach Rob Harris, since it helps them set the tone of the game.
Harris credited the team’s performance to a great week of practice and the mentality of taking everything day-by-day. “We try not to take opportunities for granted, and we are very fortunate to be where we are,” Harris said.
The Penguins were multifaceted, with 40 rebounds, 16 three-pointers and 19 points off turnovers. They still rank number one in the NWAC’s southern division.
Former NBA All-Star player Hersey Hawkins praised the team for what they’ve accomplished and encouraged them to cherish these moments. “It’s not often that you have a good team capable of winning it all,” Hawkins said. “When you are in those situations, you gotta come together as a team.”
Glenn Baral, sophomore captain who scored 15 points on the night, said maintaining focus and staying energized has been a key to their success. Even when the team is well ahead, they still focus on maintaining the same intensity.
Through the mentality of “blood in the water,” fellow captain Darrius Mathis said it has been their motivation. “Even when we’re up 20, hey, let’s go for 30; when we’re up 30, let’s try to go for 35,” Mathis said.
If the team controls the game from the start and doesn’t allow the other team to dictate the outcome, “We then just focus on playing our style,” said forward Devon Hawkins.
The Penguins will be playing at Clackamas Community College Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., followed by a home game against Mt. Hood Community College on Feb. 3.