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March 3rd, 2022

Raptors rally to eliminate Garrett College

Lakers finish McCullough's first season at helm with 18-11 record

Fifth-seeded Garrett College was attempting to upset fourth-seeded Montgomery College for the second time in 11 days during Tuesday night's NJCAA Division II Region XX men's basketball quarterfinal.

And, for the first 35 minutes, a repeat upset looked quite likely.

GC held a 48-42 advantage before the Raptors reeled off a 14-1 run to take the lead for good. Ikenna Ojiegbe's layup tied the game, 49-49, and a layup from Marlon Pratt (15 points) put Montgomery ahead to stay, 51-49, with 4:12 remaining.

Marquise Trent, who scored all 13 of his points in the second half, then hit a 3-pointer and another jumper to complete the run, stretching the Raptors' lead to 56-49.

"I give Montgomery a lot of credit," said GC head coach Matt McCullough. "They played very hard throughout the game. They were playing a high, active 2-3 zone that made it difficult for us to get open looks.

"Their effort on the glass was really good, especially down the stretch," added McCullough, who guided the Lakers to an 18-11 record in his first season as head coach. "They had key put-backs and points in the paint in the second half."

GC had raced to a 27-16 lead as Jhaiden Wilson and Darius Jones each hit a pair of 3-pointers while combining for 14 points. The Raptors, however, closed out the half with a 10-2 run as Camren Ashby and Muhammad Abdulmateen (game-high 21 points) each hit a 3-pointer, pulling the hosts within 29-26 at intermission.

Leading just 44-42, the Lakers seemingly regained control in the second half as Wilson and Ezekiel Edwards scored baskets to rebuild the lead to 48-42. The Raptors then put together their game-changing run.

Montgomery College (14-10) moved on to Friday's 1 p.m. semifinal at Garrett College against top-seeded Cecil College (24-2). Cecil reached the semifinals by hanging a 95-75 loss on eighth-seeded CCBC-Dundalk (11-17) in a Tuesday quarterfinal.

Seventh-seeded Beaver County Community College – which stunned second-seeded Chesapeake College, 75-66, in another quarterfinal – takes on third-seeded Howard Community College (23-8) in Friday's 3 p.m. semifinal. Howard notched an 85-71 victory over sixth-seeded College of Southern Maryland (13-15) in the quarterfinals.

Kobe Tigney scored a team-high 16 points to go along with 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals, and 3 blocked shots. Wilson (15 points, 7 rebounds), Lamont Powell (12 points, 4 rebounds), and Jones (11 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists) all joined Tigney in double digits.

McCullough, whose squad won the Western Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference Division II title, said this "was a season filled with ups and downs."

"We had some really good moments, including a WPCC championship and some high-quality wins," noted McCullough. "At the same time, there were some games where we came up a little bit short that we would like to have back.

"I thought our team made tremendous improvements from the beginning to the end of the season," continued McCullough. "I can't say enough about the high level of play in Maryland JUCO – it's a great conference. I'm excited to see what next year brings and I'm ready to get to work in the offseason."