Having had a week and a half off by the time they play next week, the Cosumnes River College Hawks men’s basketball program will host the 41st annual James Clark Classic at CRC with first round matchups starting Thursday, Dec. 5.

In their last game, Cosumnes River (3-4) faced off against number 29 Los Medanos (4-2) on the final day of the John Hogue Memorial Classic at Mendocino College. Despite a strong defensive second half by CRC and almost a near triple-double by sophomore guard Brandon Gray with 21 points, nine assists, and seven rebounds, the Hawks lost the game 85-77.

First half was under par for the Hawks with untimely turnovers, missed free-throws, and lowly defense.

Assistant Coach Mat Bradley felt “our lack of offensive success was affecting our defensive intensity and LMC made us pay for it. We can never let our commitment to defensive pressure be affected by our offensive production. Defense will always be key to short- and long-term success.” The Hawks shots were not falling and it affected their play throughout the first frame.

In the second half, CRC really stepped up their ball pressure and disrupted the LMC offense. They scored two quick baskets to force an LMC timeout. The Hawks used another 9-2 run to get LMC to burn another timeout to stop the bleeding. With the score 53-45 with 14:34 remaining, the Hawks kept battling. The Hawks defensive intensity was dictating their offensive output.

Later in the game, CRC got to within five at 58-53 with 12:15 remaining on a drive-and-kick assist from guard Terrell Garner to Gray for a three-point shot. The game remained within reach, but the Hawks continued to play from behind. The first half deficit was too much for the comeback. The Hawks fell 85-77.

The Hawks (2-3) started the three-day John Hogue Memorial Classic at Mendocino College with a matchup against Feather River (2-3). This was a high scoring affair from both teams. Yaadvir Dhaliwal hit two clutch free-throws and a 3-pt shot in the final minute to force overtime tied at 77-77. The extra frame continued with both teams pouring on the offense. With the Hawks down by five, Terrell Garner hit a three with 38 seconds remaining in OT to cut the deficit to 89-87. In the end, the Hawks fell short 91-89. Guards Andre Huddleston and Brandon Gray had strong showings with 19 and 15 points respectively. Freshman reserve forward Rashaad Guthery has been coming on as of late with solid production over the last few games. Tonight, he made the most of his minutes by nearly finishing with a double-double at eight points, 11 rebounds, and nice defense around the paint. The Hawks have to look to improve on the defensive end moving forward.

CRC will face College of the Siskiyous at 6 p.m. on the opening day of the James Clark Classic.