Five Buccaneers made their first start of the season as the Buccaneers improved to 16-7 overall

Azari Woods (Joe Alberico)

For the first time this season, Scott Schumacher emptied his bench – before the opening tip-off.

Beginning and ending the game with a lineup composed of reserves, the Blinn College men’s basketball team cruised to a 126-92 non-conference victory over the Houston Gladiators on Thursday at the Kruse Center in Brenham, Texas.

The Buccaneers are now 16-7 overall.

Schumacher, Blinn’s head coach, opted to run with his reserves as his starting five in a show of appreciation for what he described endless hard work.

“It was an opportunity for the guys who work hard every day in practice to get a start and get to play some extended minutes,” Schumacher said. “I’m happy for that, and then they had success out on the floor on top of it, which is something you always want to see.”

All five Bucs – including four sophomores – who took the court for the opening tip made their first start of the season, while sophomore guards Azari Woods and Jakari Marshall along with sophomore forward Tyler Jackson made their first-ever collegiate start. Freshman forward Kelvin Tamakloe also joined the starting five.

“We’ve been working hard in practice and kept working no matter the situation,” said Jackson, who finished tied for the team-high with 19 points. “Tonight meant a lot to us, getting the opportunity to start. Having the opportunity to go out and play and show what we can do, I know we’re all excited about that.”

Tyler Jackson (Joe Alberico)

Jackson added 15 rebounds to his night for his first college double-double.

Woods chipped in 14 points, eight rebounds and four assists.

Reserve freshman guard Joey Ramirez and Marshall had 11 and 10 points, respectively. Reserve sophomore guard Maurice Pinnock had 19 points, as did sophomore guard Marco Foster. All of Foster’s points came consecutively, as he single-handedly sent Blinn on a late first-half run which grew the hosts’ lead from 48-38 to 67-46 by halftime.

The night belonged to Blinn’s backups, however, as their presence continued to be felt in the second half.

Jackson scored 14 of his points after the break, while Woods and Pinnock tallied 11 and nine, respectively. Ramirez scored all of his points in the second half, while freshman reserve guard Zaveon Little scored seven.

“This was big … my first start in college and I had to make the most of it,” Woods said. “We all wanted to play well, and everybody stepped up and helped us get this win.”

As a show of respect, the Gladiators stepped aside in the game’s final seconds, opening up the lane for a pair of crowd-pleasing dunks from Pinnock and Marshall.

Blinn resumes Region XIV play when it visits Angelina College at 4 p.m. on Saturday in Lufkin, Texas.

Story by Joe Alberico, Blinn College Sports Information

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