MODESTO -- Paul Brogan could only shake his head.
His Modesto Junior College men's basketball team is built to play at an up-tempo pace. With good speed and athleticism, the Pirates can run most teams out of the gym, but the team has struggled with its energy level the last five games.
Tuesday night's first-round game with the Simpson University JV team in the 75th annual MJC Tournament was no exception.
MJC seemed to go through the motions in the first half before turning things up a notch to open the second. The Pirates turned up the heat with a 20-5 run in a little over an eight-minute span and cruised into the second round with a 76-54 victory.
Modesto will host Los Medanos on Thursday night at 8 p.m.
"I told the guys in the locker room that maybe they've misunderstood how I want them to play," Brogan said. "We have too many good athletes to play slow.
"Obviously we have to be able to execute in the halfcourt set, but when we have the opportunity to push the ball, we need to."
That much was evident on Tuesday.
Modesto (5-2) took a 34-26 lead into halftime and pushed it to 12 points five minutes into the second half. That's when the Pirates found another gear.
Brenden Evans (game-high 16 points) and Evan Grimes (12) were the focal points of a 20-5 run as MJC upped its defensive pressure. The steady dose of Simpson turnovers resulted in a flurry of transition buckets for the Pirates and a 65-38 lead.
The Red Hawks couldn't keep pace.
"I thought Kyle Seever came into the game and did a great job of pushing the ball when we had the opportunity," Brogan said. "We're obviously a different team when we play with energy. For whatever reason, we haven't had it with any consistency the last few games."
Sam Siler paced the Red Hawks with 15 points and Kyle Poe had 14.
Tashawn Mabry scored 11 points for the Pirates and Seever had nine off the bench.
SAN FRANCISCO 93, MERCED COLLEGE 50 Dulani Robinson's 19 points helped the Rams outscore the Blue Devils 48-17 in a dominant second half.
Gurpreet Sangha led MC with 14 points.
COSUMNES RIVER 88, YUBA CITY 87 (OT) Yuba City's Akachi Okugo thought he'd forced double overtime with a 3-pointer at the buzzer, but was called for having his foot on the line, allowing the Eagles to survive with the one-point victory.
Charles Standifer led CRC with 22 points, including the game-deciding free throws with 5.6 seconds left.
LOS MEDANOS 90, REEDLEY 80 Javon Primus (19 points) had five of Los Medanos' 12 first-half 3s as the Mustangs fought off a second-half Tiger rally. Andre Frazier-Stanley led Reedley with 15 points.