By Bill McCaughey
For The Fort Bend Star
Jabari Rice scored 30 points, John Walker scored 18 and the Marshall defense shut down Manvel’s inside game as the Buffalos won 69-54 and improved to 22-6 overall, and 9-2 in District 23-5A, one game behind district leading Texas City.
Rice started hot, scoring 17 points in the first half, as he appeared to be everywhere on the court at once. Rice’s teammates found him open on numerous fast breaks, often started by defensive steals.
“My teammates were getting me the ball, and I was able to score,” Rice said. “When we are moving the ball, we can beat anyone.”
Although Manvel appeared to be larger and stronger, the Mavericks could only score six points from the paint in the first half. The quicker Marshall guards and forwards swarmed all over them once Manvel got the ball inside, and 6-foot-8 John Walker blocked and affected shots through-out the first half. The first half ended with Marshall leading 34-18.
“That’s my job,” Walker said. “I need to shut down the lane and make them work for a shot.”
The third quarter was Walker’s turn to get hot, as he scored eight points in the quarter and Rice added four to maintain their 16-point lead at 48-32.
“They started to watch Jabari (Rice) more in the second half, and I was able to get my outside shots,” Walker said.
The fourth quarter was all Rice and Walker as Rice scored nine points, mostly on lay-ups, and Walker contributed six to make the final score 69-54.
When asked about any trash talking during the game, Rice said, “I like to talk on the court. Once I get into their head, I know I have them.”
“They pounded the boards against us in the first half, so at halftime we emphasized blocking out and we were able to control the boards in the second half,” Marshall Coach Gary Nichols said. “Jabari is a hyper guy. He is constantly moving. He really doesn’t care about his stats, he just wants to win. This was a good win for us. We are playing well right now. We are not where we need to be but we are getting there.”