DUNELLEN, NJ -- The most dangerous kind of basketball team in late February is one that has great chemistry and the belief that they have something to prove.
The South Brunswick boys basketball team checks off both boxes.
The Vikings shook off a second-quarter rally by Dunellen to reestablish control on their way to a 74-51 victory in their last game before the start of the Greater Middlesex Conference.
Junior guard Tyrell Murchison scored 25 points and passed for four assists, and senior swingman Justin Carbone finished with 21 points and three assists for South Brunswick, which is seeded fourth in the GMC Tournament. The Vikings, who have won six in a row, will play in the first round at home Thursday night against either Piscataway or Timothy Christian.
While Dunellen served as a tuneup, the game didn't figure to be a gimme. Although playing a Gold Division schedule of smaller opponents than South Brunswick has, the Destroyers came in with a 20-2 record.
South Brunswick (18-4) ran out to a 25-7 lead by early in the second quarter. Although the Vikings shot just 40 percent in the first quarter (8 for 20), the combination of their seven offensive rebounds in the period and their ability to turn Dunellen over still gave them a commanding advantage. Murchison scored seven of his points in the 25-7 start.
"We want to get momentum going in (to the GMC Tournament)," Murchison said. "Everybody is doubting us. Maybe not as many since we beat St. Joe's (82-67 on Feb. 8), but there are definitely still some people that think we're not gonna win."
Dunellen, after trailing, 35-22, at halftime, made it a game by scoring the first eight points of the third quarter to cut South Brunswick's lead to five. But Yathin Vemula hit a 3-pointer for South Brunswick coming out of a timeout, and Dunellen never got that close again the rest of the way.
South Brunswick, which shot 30-for-72 in the game, averages close to 75 points per game, a clip the Vikings got close to even on a night when they didn't shoot that well, because of their 3-point accuracy, their offensive rebounding, ball-hawking defense and their willingness to keep running until their opponents can't always keep up with them.
"I'm not the kind of coach who needs to run an offense," South Brunswick head coach Joe Hoehman said. "If the other teams give that to us, we'll just keep attacking. We are not a team with a lot of size, so with us it's all about five guys flying around."
Murchison, Carbone and senior forward Devin Strickland, who finished with 14 points, have all had some monster offensive games this season.
"They all do something a little different, and they have all had big games. Ty's had some huge games against quality opponents," Hoehman said. "It's nice having three potent weapons."
Vemula turned in a solid floor game to help facilitate everything for the Vikings, finishing with six assists to go with eight points. Akhil Edekar also contributed three assists for a team that spreads the ball around and is capable of lighting up opponents just as readily with its ball movement and 3-point shooting in the halfcourt game as it is with its running game.
"We try to make the extra pass to end up with the right shot," Murchison said. "We like to run. A lot of us have been playing with each other since we were 11 years old."