November 15, 2021
Lakers edge rival ACM to complete Tip-Off Classic sweep
The latest installment of the storied men's basketball rivalry between Garrett College and Allegany College of Maryland certainly lived up to its hype.
GC erased a double-digit, second-half deficit Saturday night and then held off a furious, last-minute rally by the visiting Trojans to claim a 95-93 win. The dramatic triumph gave the Lakers (2-1) a sweep of their Garrett College Tip-Off Classic games as well as an early season confidence jolt.
"College basketball is a game of momentum swings – up and down, up and down," observed GC head coach Matt McCullough. "We made a lot of winning plays in the last 10 minutes. I thought it was a really good game by both teams."
Darius Jones put the Lakers in front to stay, 74-71, draining a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 7:13 remaining. Jones' trey started a 21-9 run that gave Garrett a 92-80 cushion and seemingly sealed the Lakers' victory.
ACM, however, had other ideas. The Trojans used full-court pressure to force four consecutive turnovers as Allegany run off 10 straight points to pull within 92-90 before the Lakers sealed their win at the line.
"That's the mark of a young team," McCullough said of the Lakers' challenges against full-court pressure. "We haven't experienced a lot of things this early in the season. We're going to have to spend a whole lot of time on end-of-game situations."
Garrett had a 38-37 lead at intermission thanks to Kobey Tigney (17 points, 5 assists), who turned his own missed shot into a second-chance layup in the waning seconds of the half. The entertaining first half saw 5 lead changes and an impressive GC comeback as the Lakers erased an early, 7-point deficit.
ACM appeared on the verge of breaking open the game in the middle stages of the second half, using a 10-0 run to build a 58-48 advantage. The Trojans kicked up their transition game during the run, getting fast-break baskets from Jason Newman (20 points), Dalyn Brandon (21 points), and Jordan Johnson (23 points) as well as 2 inside hoops from Emmanuel Ayetigbo (15 points).
The Lakers responded with their own 10-0 run, starting with consecutive 3-pointers from opposite wings by Jhaiden Wilson (23 points) and Tyler Rodeheaver (13 points, 7 rebounds). Lamont Powell (12 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists) then sank 2 free throws and Wilson scored on a reverse layup to tie the game.
Newman created the game's last tie, at 71, on a layup with less than 8 minutes remaining. Jones (21 points, 6 rebounds) responded with his tie-breaking trey, starting the 21-9 run that included 3 layups in heavy traffic by Rodeheaver as the Lakers apparently seized control.
Rodeheaver, the redshirt sophomore who scored all 13 of his points in the second half on Friday against Jamestown Community College, had 11 of his 13 points against ACM after intermission.
"It takes him a while to get going and we want to change that," said McCullough, who indicated Rodeheaver is getting more and more comfortable in the Laker offense. "He's a smart and experienced player who's been in big moments before and he made big plays for us late in the second half."
Trailing 92-80, ACM started its comeback when Newman nailed 2 free throws with 1:50 to play. Brandon, Newman, Johnson and Raphael Castillo (10 points) then each contributed hoops off GC turnovers, with Castillo's layup getting the Trojans within 2 with 45 seconds remaining.
Wilson missed a shot on GC's next possession, but Rodeheaver got the rebound to reset the shot clock to 20 with 28 seconds remaining. Powell, fouled with 21.3 seconds left, hit both ends of a 1-and-1 to stop the ACM run and extend the Lakers' lead to 94-90.
Brandon missed a jumper with 5.7 seconds remaining and the Trojans fouled Tigney, who hit the second of 2 free throws to make it 95-90. Johnson's 3-pointer at the buzzer from well beyond the top of the key was impressive, but inconsequential to the final result.
"It was another really good team win," said McCullough. "We had so many guys contributing, and the bench was really into it the whole game. It was also a great job by our coaching staff."
Notes: McCullough and the Lakers made an effective early adjustment to the ACM offense, which created 3 back-door layups among its first 4 baskets while sprinting to an 8-3 lead. McCullough immediately called timeout to address the issue.
"We try to get really active on the perimeter and deny the wings," explained McCullough. "They were using our aggressiveness on defense to get us caught on backdoors.
"They have a really good offensive set," continued McCullough. "For us, it was just a case of making the guys aware they wanted to cut back door. We took that away with the guy guarding the man trying to go back door becoming more aware of that tendency."
AJ Crosby had a team-high 9 rebounds for the Lakers while scoring 9 points.
Garrett College 107, Jamestown CC 82
McHenry, MD – A 19-0, second-half run ensured that Matt McCullough's first home game also turned out to be his first victory as Garrett College's head men's basketball coach.
The Lakers used that run to break open a competitive game on the way to a 107-82 victory Friday night against Jamestown Community College. The win came in Garrett College's Tip-Off Classic, jointly sponsored by First United Bank & Trust and Personal Best.
GC (1-1) had already built a 73-62 lead before launching the 19-0 scoring spree that featured 6 different scorers. Lamont Powell (11 points), Darius Jones (14 points) and Lamondre Gregg each had 2 baskets, including a Powell 3-pointer. Tyler Rodeheaver (13 points), Kobey Tigney (20 points) and Ezekiel Edwards (team-high 9 rebounds) also had hoops in the run, which ended with the Lakers holding a 92-62 advantage.
"I thought we moved the ball really well when we got guys involved," said McCullough. "We hit a lot of shots in the first half, but our offensive movement and overall intention was much better in the second half."
Jhaiden Wilson scored a game-high 23 points as the Lakers placed 6 in double figures and 8 in the scoring column. Bam Toure led Jamestown with 22 points while teammates Brian Fajardo and Keon Armstrong scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The game was much more competitive early with 7 first-half lead changes, the last coming on a Mekhi Price jumper that gave the Lakers a 19-18 lead. Price's jumper started a 9-0 run that also included a Price 3-pointer as the Lakers built a 26-18 advantage.
GC stretched its lead to 50-38 on a Jones 3-pointer, but the Jayhawks finished the half on an 8-2 run that pulled the visitors within 52-46.
The Lakers began rebuilding their lead early in the second half, but couldn't pull away until their 19-0 streak. GC eventually stretched its lead to 35 points before the Lakers took their foot off the gas.
"Overall it was a good team win," said McCullough. "It was nice to get that first win at home – our fan support tonight was fantastic."
Prince George's 85, Garrett College 84
Largo, MD – Keynante Williams' dunk with 20 seconds remaining last Wednesday night gave the host Owls a season-opening win.
Kobey Tigney (team-high 17 points, game-high 4 assists) missed a jumper with 1 second remaining that could have won it for GC.
AJ Crosby (game-high 10 rebounds) scored 15 points while teammates Jhaiden Wilson and Tyler Rodeheaver (game-high 4 steals) added 13 each for GC. Mekhi Price was the fifth Laker in double figures with 10 points. Lamont Powell and Darius Jones contributed 7 points each and Ezekiel Edwards had 2 points.