Marlow leads Raiders in second-half surge
By Erik Markus
La Habra Journal
The Raiders rallied in the second half to upset the Troy Warriors on Friday night, winning 68-64.
With just a minute to play, Kevin Marlow took a shot from the baseline, fading out of bounds.
“That’s kind of my go-to move, the pull up jumper. It was feeling good tonight. When it came down to it, I went with what was most comfortable,” Marlow said.
Marlow’s shot fell, hitting nothing but net, and giving the Raiders a one point lead.
“The most courageous player on the court was Kevin Marlow tonight,” head coach Mike Murphy said.
“Those are moments that I live for. I love when the pressure’s on me,” Marlow said.
Marlow’s heroics led the Raiders (16-9, 6-2), but started in the first quarter. Marlow scored 11 of his 22 points in the first quarter, as he paced the Raiders through the Warriors (14-11, 5-3) first quarter blitz.
The hot shooting Warriors started the game where they left off last time these two teams met, shooting the lights out.
“I kept telling us at every time out, to hang in there, we’re fine, we’re playing good defense,” Murphy said, “We just emphasize, we got to run them off the three point line.”
The Raiders stayed close after the first quarter, and chipped away as the game wore on.
“It was amazing that they held it together,” Murphy said.
Defense was the key for the Raiders, who went from giving up 41 points in the first half, to only 23 in the second half.
“We did a really good job in the second half. They scored 80 points on us last time. 41 in the first half (today) and I just said guys if we’re going to win, we’re going to have to defend,” Murphy said.
As the Warriors adjusted to Marlow’s shooting, Austin Carter went to work dominating the boards and putbacks.
“Austin’s a double double machine. We’ve played eight league games, and in every game, he’s had a double double,” Murphy said.
Carter’s presence on the inside limited Troy’s Samir Shafi as well as provided a reliable option when the were in need of a bucket.
There were multiple times where coach Murphy would yell to his guards to get the ball in to Austin.
“We put a lot of plays in where we would set double screens, and then the second guy would slip, and we were getting Austin on that,” Murphy said.
That effort proved successful, with Carter scoring 13 of his 17 in the second half.
The X factor in this game for the Raiders was Colin Lopez who hit a buzzer beater at the end of the second quarter, and was a spark plug off the bench playing in crunch time.
“Probably one of the most underrated players in this league. The kid’s a freak athlete and nights like tonight, he steps up big time,” Marlow said.
Lopez has been sitting on the bench all season as one of the guards blocked by Marlow.
“I told him yesterday, to be ready, because I know he’s a really good player, and he came out tonight and he played great,” Murphy said.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment this whole season. It finally happened,” Lopez said.
However, Lopez was able to knock down shots, energize his team, as well as play defense on one of the toughest players in the league.
Aaron Yoo torched the Raiders in their last meeting because of his speed and strength. Lopez however pestered him and made him work for all seven of his points.
“I’ve been playing with that guy for a long time, and I just had to stay in front of him,” Lopez said.
The Raiders win came while the Buena Park Coyotes fell to the Lancers. With wins against the Lancers and Warriors this week, and four in a row, the Raiders move into a first place tie with the Buena Park, with two games left on the schedule.
The Raiders finish the regular season on Thursday night at home against the Coyotes.