Fouls and loose ball turnovers plagued each squad in the first two quarters as neither team really could get momentum to stay in their favor.
"In the first half we couldn't buy a basket," said NMCC head coach Travis Day after the game. "Their (Cape Central's) zone was working. They had a game plan of packing in the paint and not letting us in there. They did exactly that."
In the second half the game grew more physical inside and the guards of the Eagles managed to work the ball inside quite a bit more to Kony Ealy. Ealy scored just three points in the first half, all in the first quarter, but in the second half he was the difference maker as he controlled the box and racked up 18 of NMCC's 26 second half points. He led all scorers with 21 points in the win.
Fellow big man, Josh Minner, was held to just two points in the victory as he roamed the post. Minner said that the second half was a lot more physical than the first.
The win could be attributed to the strong defense that the NMCC squad put on the Tigers when the game was on the line. The Eagles offense outscored Cape Central 14-9 in the third quarter and 12-6 in the fourth, but that was because the defensive pressure up front by Dontre Jenkins and Bryan Waters played a pivotal role in Tiger turnovers.
"What I was glad for, was that we played pretty good defense to keep us in the game," Day said. "We didn't put our heads down. We kept playing hard and we kept defending."
Day said the low scoring affair is probably the lowest of his days as head coach at NMCC. He said that his squad usually ends up in the 50s on the scoreboard, but said he was glad his team kept Cape Central as low as they did in the end.
Aside from Ealy's 21 points, Jenkins added seven. Each recorded a 3-pointer in the win and the Eagles were 13-for-29 from the charity stripe.
On the Tigers' side, Rick Russell led the way with 10 points while Josh Harris added seven.
NMCC, now 9-5 on the season, will travel to Twin Rivers on Tuesday evening to take on the Royals.