DeKALB – Down by as many as 13 points in the first half and struggling defensively against Metea Valley, Lance McVicar and the DeKalb basketball team turned things around in the second half.
McVicar hit an early 3-pointer in the third quarter and later gave the Barbs the lead for good at the foul line in a 71-59 win over the Mustangs in a DuPage Valley Conference battle Friday.
“That was major for us,” said McVicar, in his first game back since an injury earlier this month. “I came out in the second half strong, got that 3, got a couple fouls, got us up.”
The Mustangs (7-15, 0-6 DVC) led, 30-17, after a bucket in the paint by Quentin Schaffer, who scored a team-high 14 points. But the Barbs were able to cut the lead to 40-34 at the break, thanks in part to a pair of 3-pointers by Sean Reynolds and a 3 by Tyler Westberg.
McVicar gave the Barbs (15-7, 4-1) their first lead since the first quarter, 44-43, on a free throw with 5:33 left in the third, and they never trailed again.
The Barbs held the Mustangs to 19 second-half points after 40 in the first half.
“I think we were engaged defensively,” DeKalb coach Mike Reynolds said. “In the first half we were kind of chasing our man around and we were in somewhat the right spot, but I don’t think we were mentally engaged all the time. Halftime was awake up call. The teams in our league are really good. If you don’t come to play you’re going to be behind at half.”
The Mustangs tried creeping back into the game late in the third with a pair of steals and layups by Schaffer and Javion Grizzle to get the lead down from eight to 53-49 at the end of three. But DeKalb scored the first eight of the fourth, keeping the Mustangs off the board for almost 4 minutes.
After shooting 18 of 24 in the first half, Metea Valley was 8 of 24 in the second half.
“Things look better when you’re hitting shots,” Metea Valley coach Isaiah Davis said. “We shot the ball well and moved the ball well. DeKalb did a good job of taking away our first options. But then once we got in the groove and found our second options, we weren’t converting at the same efficiency.”
Jahki Gray scored 13 off the bench for the Mustangs.
Sean Reynolds and Demarrea Davis each scored a game-high 16, with Darrell Island adding 13 for DeKalb. Davis also had 12 rebounds, McVicar seven and Tyler Westberg six in the come-from-behind win.
“I just think that’s who we are,” Mike Reynolds said. “We’re not a typical suburban team even though we play in a suburban conference. We’re physical and a little rough and tough-minded. It was nice to see our guys exude that there in the second half. We played tough and didn’t take no for an answer.”