Men's College Basketball

Miller's healthy second half pushes Trail Blazers to win

Illinois Community College's D.J. Davis guards John Wood's Eric Easter on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019 at John Wood Community College. | H-W Photo/Katelyn Metzger
Jake Shane 1|
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 12, 2019 1:10 am

QUINCY -- The beauty of a break in the John Wood Community College men's basketball team's mid-week schedule is Cory Miller Jr. gets to rest his aching arch.

He might have a hard time convincing anyone other than Trail Blazers coach Brad Hoyt his left foot is actually hurting.

The sophomore guard powered the Trail Blazers to their first Mid-West Athletic Conference home victory of the season Monday night, scoring 28 of his game-high 30 points in the second half as JWCC upended No. 17 Illinois Central College 77-67 at the Student Activity Center.

"Coach and I were talking, and we said we just had to get through today," said Miller, who was playing his second game in three days after missing last week's game at Southeastern Community College in Burlington, Iowa. "We'll take it easy the next couple days. So that was the focus, just getting through this one."

Miller had just six points on 2-of-11 shooting from the field in last Saturday's victory at Danville Area Community College. He followed with just two points in the first half against ICC on two free throws with 3:48 remaining, but the Trail Blazers (13-12, 3-1 MWAC) led 29-24 at halftime and knew they had to get him more involved in the second half.

"If our spacing is correct off the ball, it opens up driving lanes and opportunities," Hoyt said. "So I felt good if we could solve the organization against their pressure, Cory was going to get it. Him getting isolated on a defender in space is really good for us."

That didn't take long to happen.

Miller scored with a left-handed floater on a drive from the right wing just 30 seconds into the half and had 10 of the Trail Blazers first 13 points of the half. They went up 42-35 after he hit back-to-back 3-pointers.

"When we drove, they would break down, and we could get it to our big guys or get wide-open layups," Miller said. "They didn't do a very good job from the help side. It just kind of worked out like that I was able to get in a flow and get to the rim."

The Cougars (14-6, 1-3 MWAC) didn't stem the tide because they struggled to string together quality offensive possessions.

After grabbing 12 offensive rebounds in the first half, ICC had only seven in the second half. The Cougars had 10 more offensive rebounds overall but only outscored the Trail Blazers 12-8 in second-chance points.

Freshman forward Justin Bottorff finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds to help the Trail Blazers only get outrebounded 39-38. Gentry Whiteman added 12 points and four assists and made four of five free throws as JWCC made 27 of 34 from the line.

Miller made 11 of 12 and appeared to feel as comfortable and confident as he has since he first hurt his foot.

"It's hard to not feel good when you're putting the ball in the basket," Miller said.

John Wood 77, Illinois Central 67

ICC (14-6, 1-3 MWAC)

Turner 1-3 0-0 2, Hall 4-9 4-6 13, Milsteadt 4-15 3-6 14, P. McKenzie 3-11 0-1 6, Gibson 5-11 3-4 14, Brown 2-7 1-2 5, Crosby 1-2 0-0 2, Morton 0-1 0-0 0, Bruggenwirth 2-3 0-0 4, Brantley 0-1 0-0 0, N. McKenzie 1-5 0-0 3, Davis 1-3 2-3 4. Totals 24-71 13-22 67.

JWCC (13-12, 3-1 MWAC)

Easter 0-0 2-3 2, Whiteman 3-13 4-5 12, Jackson 2-5 1-1 5, Miller 8-10 11-12 30, Bottorff 5-11 4-4 15, Rumbo 0-2 1-2 1, Morrison 1-3 0-0 2, Bevans 2-5 4-7 8, Jefferson 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 22-50 27-34 77.

Halftime--JWCC 29, ICC 24. 3-point field goals--ICC 6-21 (Milsteadt 3-9, Gibson 1-3, N. McKenzie 1-3, Hall 1-1, Brown 0-3, Morton 0-1, Davis 0-1), JWCC 6-17 (Miller 3-3, Whiteman 2-7, Bottorff 1-1, Jackson 2-2, Rumbo 2-2, Morrison 2-2). Rebounds--ICC 39 (Gibson 7), JWCC 38 (Bottorff 11). Assists--ICC 5 (Milsteadt 2), JWCC 6 (Miller 2). Steals--ICC 8 (Milsteadt 3), JWCC 5 (Miller 2). Blocked shots--ICC 1 (Gibson), JWCC 5 (Easter, Whiteman, Jackson, Miller, Bevans). Turnovers--ICC 11, JWCC 15. Fouls--ICC 27, JWCC 22. Fouled out--Davis, Jefferson. Technical fouls--Hall.