Backcourt duo enters select company

No major record was established but a personal achievement was set at the West Quad Center of Brooklyn College. This basketball game lifted Brooklyn College to a 2-0 record in the City University of New York Athletic Conference.

The backcourt duo of seniors Amil John and Tyshawn Russell have been doing just tremendous this season or after 10 overall games and was certainly shown against York College in a league contest.

In mid December, John went over the 1,000-point barrier and then in early January, Russell, who achieved the same honor, entered the select company,

Coming into the York game, Russell didn’t need time to achieve it. He put in a lay-up inside the paint, hit on another field goal from the same area, repeated the same, and then converted a free throw about mid way into the first half. Russell tallied 16 points during the first 20 minutes of action, and became the 18th player in the history of Brooklyn College to join a select group topped by Richard Jean-Baptist, who graduated with 1847 career points.

However, Russell didn’t score much in the second half, as York went ahead and seemingly had the game all but wrapped up. He was cold from the field. But he and his teammates hung in ‘there.’ York’s lead seemed to dwindled down to two points late in the game as Brooklyn College kept fighting back.

One second remained when Russell was inside the paint and the ball was in hands. The score was tied 75-75 at the time.

Russell took a desperation shot that broke the tie and gave Brooklyn a come from behind exciting victory.

“This was a hard fought defensive game,” said Russell after the contest. “We never played like this. That’s the heart of a champion team that is needed to win games.”

His teammates guard John and Kevon Baker up front also contributed all 40 minutes of action in the thriller. Coach Steve Podias certainly had the confidence in his players.

“Last year’s team, might have gave up when we were down points but this time (around) they managed to win,” said 5-11 guard from Holy Cross High School in Queens, who wound up with 18 points against York College.

Coming into the game, Russell was looking forward for this moment for a long time to get his 1,000th point.

Coach Podias didn’t have a deep bench for the York game on a roster of 15 players. The back court combination of John and Russell demonstrated what they could do and have shown signs of brilliance at times.

Russell and John are a great duo for the Brooklyn College basketball team.

“Tyshawn is a tough kid,” York Coach Ron St. John said after the contest. “They know what to do.”

However, York has a one two punch of its own. That is one up front in Omari Phipps and Shamir Wilkinson. Both of them proved too much for the hosts.

Incidentally, Omari’s father Oswald, is a native of the West Indies and played soccer and cricket in his younger days in St. Vincent.

“Brooklyn College has ruined my season, personally,” said Shamir Wilkinson. “Twice in a row they defeated us. In my freshman year they beat us in the Conference finals, and last year they beat us in the quarter-finals. I have a personal vendetta against this school.”

This double-round robin league culminated by a CUNYAC playoff tournament that sends the champion to the NCAA Division III tourney. The two teams – Brooklyn and York – meet again during the regular season at York, located in Jamaica, in early February.