The Lansing Pharaohs entered weekend #2 with a determination to flip the script from last weekend’s 0-2 start. Knowing the last thing they wanted to do was dig an even deeper hole for themselves, the Pharaohs came ready to play and left the weekend with 2 wins improving their record to 2-2.
Weekend #2 began with a Friday matchup against Flint United, who entered the game with a 1-2 record. The game began with a rough start due to C, Rozelle Nix, re-injuring his calf in the opening minutes of the game; an injury that would have him sidelined for this weekend of action as well as next weekend. Despite the loss of a key starter, the pharaohs remained resilient and started the first period off strong with an 11-point lead going into the 2nd quarter. The Pharaohs rode the lead into the second quarter and maintained a solid cushion up until halftime where they lead 63-56 and had not left the driver’s seat the entire half. Outstanding performances by Muhammed El-Amin, Maurice Jones, and Ja’Myrin Jackson allowed the pharaohs to cruise through the 3rd quarter entering the fourth with a comfortable lead of 15 points (98-83). However, the Pharaohs wouldn’t hold on to the lead for long due to a mixture of the team getting a bit too comfortable on the court and a Pharaoh’s technical foul that would spark a 16-5 Flint United run that tied the game up at 105-105 with 7 minutes left to play. The Pharaohs once again found themselves in a situation where the game would come down to the final minute but this time around the team wouldn’t flinch. Down 4 with only 30 seconds remaining the Pharaohs would look to Muhammed El-Amin for a mid-range jump shot followed by a quick foul after the inbounds pass to send Flint G, Jahil Rawley, to the line to shoot two free throws. While at the line eager Pharaoh’s fans brought the noise to Don Johnson Fieldhouse causing Rawley to miss both free throws allowing the Pharaohs to hold the ball for a last-second shot attempt while down 2. With time ticking Maurice Jones drove to the basket with authority getting the buzzer-beater shot up over a Flint United defender to send the game into overtime with a score of 126-126. In overtime, the Pharaohs proved they were the better team by handling Flint with ease and coming away with a 143-136 win. The high-scoring affair led to the Pharaohs having 3 players score 30 or more points (Maurice Jones (30), Muhammed El-Amin (31), and Ja’Myrin Jackson (35)). Sam Muldrow (23 points, 12 rebounds) and Muhammed El-Amin (31 points, 12 rebounds) also both tallied double-doubles.
The Pharaoh’s finished the back-to-back with a Saturday night matchup against the Cincinnati Warriors, who were 1-2 entering the game. The Pharaohs began the game with a sleepy start which allowed Cincinnati to end the first quarter with a 20-12 lead. Cincinnati continued to take advantage of the Pharaoh’s slow start, large number of turnovers, and poor shooting by riding the hot hand of G, Davone Daniels, who would end the game with 37 points. Cincinnati led the game by as much as 16 points before the Pharaohs cut the lead to 10 going into halftime, score: 40-50. The Pharaohs entered the second half ready to play instantly finding their groove on offense which allowed them to outscore Cincinnati by 13 in the third quarter giving them a 73-70 lead going into the fourth. The game remained competitive in the fourth quarter going back and forth up until the 2-minute mark where the Pharaohs found themselves tied 92-92. Following the tie, the Pharaohs would go on an 11-0 scoring run essentially ending the game despite a last-second effort by Cincinnati which would lead to a final score of 112-105, Pharaoh’s win. Highlights of the game included Maurice Jones nearly tallying a triple-double (24 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists) making his presence felt all over the court. PF, Montrell Little, also stepped up in Nix’s absence scoring 17 points and adding 8 rebounds.
When asked about what differences between this weekend and last weekend helped the Pharaohs win Coach Newman stated, “Our defense was a little bit better and we did a good job of moving the basketball and getting the ball to the right people”. Coach Newman also went on to add that this weekend was a “builder of confidence” and that he was impressed with his team’s “next man up” mentality when it came to Montrell Little starting at PF and starting PF, Sam Muldrow, becoming the starting center for the weekend.