After a month off, the Marshalltown Community College men's basketball team decided it needed 20 more minutes before returning to action.
The Tigers shook off a sluggish and sloppy first half with a fast and furious start to the second, claiming an 86-56 victory over Wartburg JV on Monday night in the team's first game of 2012.
"Our effort got better, we had more intensity about us, we were able to get out in transition and do some things," said MCC head coach Brynjar Brynjarsson. "We played with more energy to start the second half."
The game was played not long after MCC announced Monday it would forfeit seven victories from earlier this season after learning one of its players was ineligible. The Tigers' record now officially stands at 3-13.
A sleepwalk through the first half against the Knights gave way to a sprint to begin the second half.
MCC scored the game's first 15 points coming out of the break and used a 25-2 run over the half's first 8 minutes to take a 36-point advantage that eventually reached the 40-point mark a few minutes later.
Brynjarsson didn't credit a rousing halftime speech for the quick turnaround.
"It really wasn't anything spectacular other than we aren't putting the practices we've had into the game," he said. "I thought we were fortunate to have (Wartburg JV) at 27 points (at halftime) because I didn't think our defense had anything to do with it."
"It took us a while to get going, but at halftime it was really about, 'Let's play our game and take advantage of an opportunity of being able to play,'" he added.
"We came out and started the second half out pretty well."
Sherman Blanford spent much of the first half on the bench after struggling at the outset.
He rebounded right before half and had a standout second stanza, finishing with a team-high 15 points.
"I just don't think Sherman was ready to play hard right off the bat," Brynjarsson said, "but he found a way to pull himself out of that funk that he had going on.
"He ended up with a pretty good ballgame."
Derrick Stewart hit a quartet of 3s to finish with 12 points while Keith Coleman also had 12. Kyle Calhoun and Nilson Santana both contributed 10 points.
MCC was without Idaho recruit Marcus Bell, who was serving a one-game suspension stemming from a violation of team rules.
"He'll be back on Wednesday (at Ellsworth)," Brynjarsson said. "Hopefully, he's learned from it. We move on. He handled it very well."
Seth Nutting was the Knights' leading with 10 points as Wartburg JV was able to stick with MCC early.
The Tigers didn't have a basket for the game's first four minutes and didn't break into double digits until nearly the midway point of the half.
The Knights led 15-14 with 9 minutes before halftime until a 16-2 run by the Tigers created some separation, but not enough to decide the game before intermission.
Then, the Tigers' onslaught took away any intrigue.
"The last game we played was December 10. It's been a long time and we've had a total of six practices," said Brynjarsson, noting the team's winter break. "We've got to fight through some things. Just got to get back into that groove."
"I don't think we were ready to play as hard as we've been practicing," he continued, "but it was nice to be able to find a way to look somewhat similar to what we did in practice."