It could have been tempting for the Harper College men's basketball team to look past an opponent with a 4-17 record, especially with a matchup against North Central Community College Conference leader Joliet looming on Saturday night.
It turns out the Hawks had no problem resisting that tempation. Harper earned a 92-62 victory over visiting Madison Area Technical College on Wednesday.
Harper's mission was clear to sophomore co-captain Tyler Gaedele (12 points).
"We always try to focus on what's next," he said.
Despite early struggles from 3-point range, where the Hawks were 2 for their first 7, Harper eventually found the range and started to pull away.
"We wanted to get this one in the bag early," said St. Viator grad Kevin Walsh, who finished with 14 points for the Hawks.
After being hampered by an ankle injury all season, sophmore Charlie Wright had a coming-out party against Madison. He led the Hawks with 17 points.
"The focus was getting early looks," Wright said.
The 5-foot-11 native of Cheyenne, Wyo., got them and made good, accumulating 10 of his team-high 17 points in the first half.
"I just went in and tried to finish," Wright said.
With Harper leading 31-9 with 7:45 let in the first half, the Wolfpack started to generate some offense and went on an 18-4 run before trailing 40-27 at the intermission.
"We might have lost our focus," said Hawks coach Tony Amarino.
Now, with a comfortable win in hard, Harper (13-9 overall) turns its focus to the N4C race. The Hawks are 5-2 in the league and trailed Joliet going into Wednesday's action. But they could force a tie for the N4C lead with a win in Saturday's 7 p.m. game in Palatine.