News Lakers Overwhelm Penn Highlands - Garrett College
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Campus News

November 20th, 2023

Lakers overwhelm Penn Highlands

Wilson scores 34; Garrett men explode for 72 first-half points

For most men's basketball teams, breaking the 100-point barrier is a rare accomplishment.

If they keep this pace up, the Lakers will soon be averaging triple digits.

Jhaiden Wilson hit his first five 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 34 points Wednesday night in the Lakers' 117-80 win over visiting Pennsylvania Highlands Community College. The Lakers (2-3) are averaging 98.6 points per game this season, including 104.3 over the last four games.

"We've got a lot of offensive firepower," said GC head coach Matt McCullough. "We've got guys who can score the ball at all three levels. When things click, we can put up points in a hurry."

That was certainly the case against Penn Highlands. The hot start by Wilson (game-high seven assists, three steals) helped GC to a 52-18 lead after 10 minutes on the way to a 72-39 halftime cushion.

"Jhaiden came out firing on all cylinders," said McCullough, who also praised Gavin Jackson's 22-point effort. "Gavin came into the game and kind of broke out."

GC's offensive performance was all the more impressive as it came with leading scorer Alex Vargo (28.0 points per game, 59.2 field-goal percentage) missing the game due to injury.

"It was good to see the guys having that next-man-up philosophy," said McCullough.

Kydale Staten added 13 points with six rebounds and a game-high four blocked shots. Daytwan Johnson (six rebounds, five assists) and Antwan Gross (eight rebounds) each scored 10 points for the Lakers.

Nate Washington just missed double figures with eight points to go along with five rebounds, five assists, and three steals for GC.

GC shot 49 percent from the field, including nearly 48 percent from the 3-point line. The Lakers made 19 treys compared to just two for Penn Highlands, with Wilson going 9-for-13 from behind the arc.

Garrett finished with a 52-35 rebounding advantage and had an 11-2 margin in blocked shots as the Lakers also dominated the inside game.

Joziah Wyatt-Taylor scored a team-high 27 points for Penn Highlands (2-5). Jamar Wilson added 14 points for the Black Bears.

While GC's offense is humming, McCullough said the Lakers need to improve defensively.

"I thought we gave up way too many points, especially in the second half," said McCullough. The Lakers, playing reserves extensively, finished with a slim 45-41 edge in second-half scoring.

"It's hard to play in blowout games, especially with young guys who lack experience," acknowledged McCullough, who didn't play any Laker more than 22 minutes.

Garrett College caps its pre-Thanksgiving schedule on Tuesday with a 7 p.m. game at the Community College of Allegheny County. CCAC (2-3) defeated Westmoreland County Community College, 94-65, on Saturday after consecutive overtime losses, including one against defending NJCAA Division II Region 20 champion Chesapeake College.

"They're much better this year," McCullough said of the Wildcats. "They have a new head coach [Anthony Allen], a good system, and a good recruiting class. We're going to have our work cut out for us."