November 23, 2021
GC men pull away from Black Bears
Lakers use defense to create offense and stay perfect at home
The Lakers' defense once again jump-started their offense Monday night as Garrett College's men's basketball team pulled away from visiting Pennsylvania Highlands Community College, 83-65.
GC – holding a nervous, 45-41 lead – came up with 3 consecutive steals at the start of a 15-0, second-half run that broke the game open. Tyler Rodeheaver had a breakaway slam off a Dalton Wiles steal before Justen Anderson nailed consecutive 3-pointers from opposite wings after thefts by Kobey Tigney (14 points) and Rodeheaver.
"When we're pressuring the ball and forcing turnovers, it leads to some transition runouts," said GC head coach Matt McCullough. "That gets the offense going."
Anderson and Rodeheaver each scored 16 points to lead the Lakers, with Anderson scoring 14 in the second half.
"I thought we got really good minutes form Justen Anderson in the second half," observed McCullough. "He was a big second-half contributor and really sparked us. He saw some shots fall and his confidence grew."
The Lakers (4-1) won their fourth straight game and stayed perfect (3-0) at home, but Penn Highlands battled GC evenly through the first 16 minutes in a game that was tied at 24.
"We gave them a few easy baskets, but for the most part I thought we were pretty good defensively," said McCullough.
Garrett took the lead for good on consecutive jumpers by Lamont Powell (11 points) that started a 12-3 Laker run that included the final 9 points of the half as GC built a 36-27 lead. McCullough praised the squad for playing hard in what can often be a college basketball "trap game" – the final contest before Thanksgiving Break.
"We played on Saturday and had one day to get ready for Penn Highlands," observed McCullough. "We have guys traveling tonight and early tomorrow for Thanksgiving, and it's about staying focused while all that's going on.
"We just didn't make a lot of shots early – but we were able to rely on our defense in the first half," McCullough added. "When you're not hitting shots, the defense has to carry you until they start falling."
Notes: Darius Jones and AJ Crosby each added 7 points for the Lakers. They will travel to Johnstown, Pa. for a rematch with Penn Highlands next Monday night.