Defending Champs Fall in the First Round of MDJUCO Tournament
March 9, 2017
The Montgomery College Men’s Basketball team was set to defend their Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference Championship title until they lost Friday, Feb. 17 in the first round to Community College of Baltimore County Catonsville 89-79 at Chesapeake College. The Catonsville Cardinals took advantage of Montgomery’s sloppy first twenty minutes to take a 14-point lead going into halftime.
Poor free throw shooting, a depleted bench, and a major turnover differential put Montgomery down by too much to overcome.
The Raptors came out firing in the second half, outscoring the Cardinals 50-46 and getting the deficit to just 10 points with 7:05 left. Catonsville, unfortunately, finished the game strong making 16 out of 18 (88.9%) from the free throw line which kept Montgomery from cutting the lead any further.
The Cardinals had the free throw advantage throughout the game going 20-26 (76.9%) while the Raptors went 13-25 (52%). One player, Patrick Smith, accounted for seven free throws by himself with only one coming from a player coming off the bench. The difference in the two team’s benches seemed to have a major impact on the game’s outcome. Montgomery had four players come off the bench during the game. Two of them played for 13 minutes each and the other two each had two minutes or less.
Catonsville, also had four players participate but only one, Lamar Estep, played less than two minutes. The other three players Hampton, Tucker, and Coker played for 15, 16, and 28 minutes, respectively.
Bench players and the minutes they contribute directly influence the starters and the outcome of the game. The lack of depth on the bench forced the starters to carry the team and play more minutes than usual. Montgomery’s starters averaged just over 34 minutes per player while the Catonsville starters averaged 28 minutes each, according to the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference.
Six minutes may not look like much on paper, or seem like much while reading an article, but to those five guys that started on Friday night, it was a major difference maker. Not playing the substitutes off the bench may be the best strategy for a short period of time, but after a while, the starters get tired and need a break. No player can perform at their highest level if they’re tired and getting more worn out.
The Raptors turned the ball over 13 times in the first half, compared to only four by Catonsville. The Cardinal’s were a little less efficient with the ball in the second half adding nine more to their total. The second half wasn’t better either with the addition of another 12 turnovers, according to the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference. Committing 25 turnovers in a game will create a significant advantage for the opposing team, no matter how well your team plays.
The Raptors were back on the court Sat. Feb. 25 when they took on the Community College of Allegheny County at home for the National Junior College Athletic Association Region XX Tournament.