FALL RIVER - Here's a scary thought for opponents of BCC's men's basketball team: The Bayhawks are 9-0, ranked No. 9 in the country and coach Rob Delaleu says his team hasn't played its best basketball yet.
"I see the potential of this team and I really don't think we've played our best basketball yet," Delaleu said after his team won its ninth straight to begin the season Saturday in an 89-65 win over Quincy College. "I'll keep pushing them to reach that potential."
Quick starts and high national rankings to begin the season are nothing new to Delaleu, whose team began last season with 10 straight victories.
"It's a big deal for the program to get some national recognition," he said. "We don't have the resources that many programs have, but we're there. We haven't won a national title yet, but we're looking forward to the opportunity."
Prior to Saturday's convincing win, BCC was ranked ninth nationally in the NJCAA Division III basketball.
"We're ninth out of about 200 teams," Delaleu said.
The Bayhawks have put it all together this season, winning games with defense and an explosive offense that averages 100 points per game. Saturday's win, however, was keyed by a strong defensive performance.
"To hold this team to 65 points is pretty good," said Delaleu. "They have averaged somewhere between 96 and 98 points in their last five games. We had a lot of energy out there today."
Offensively, the Bayhawks were too bad either. BCC went 20-for-38 from the floor in the first half, hitting five 3-pointers, and putting up 54 points. The Bayhawks led 54-42 at the break.
"They changed up their defense on us in the second half and threw in a little wrinkle to slow us down," Delaleu said. "I think we were pressing a little bit. We rushed things a little bit."
The visitors cut the deficit to 60-53 with 12:22 to go, but Joshua Winbush, who finished with a game-high 24 points, triggered a 9-2 run that swelled the Bayhawk lead to 69-55.
Winbush, a bruising center/forward, scored 13 of his points in the second half to help put the game away.
"He's a scholarship-level player," Delaleu said. "He's getting a lot of interest. He's one of the better ones we've had here."
Marcus McCarthy finished with 12 points, while Jose Mercado and Malik Charles also hit double figures with 10 points each.
"The key for us this year is that guys are accepting their roles," Delaleu said. "We haven't had that in the past. They accept it. The leadership this year has given us a different vibe."