Recap: Gibbs Scores 35 In Debut As Mustangs Top Hawks 110-101

Recap: Gibbs Scores 35 In Debut As Mustangs Top Hawks 110-101

BLUE BELL, Pa. - Shaakir Gibbs made his presence felt in his first game with Montgomery, pacing a high-octane attack with 35 points as the Mustangs outlasted Harrisburg Area Community College, 110-101, in Region XIX action on Saturday afternoon.

Nicko Balis added 25 points to lead a quartet of Mustangs' players who also scored in double figures as the home team snapped a three-game slide in earning its fifth victory.

"This was by far our most complete game of the season," said Head Men's Basketball Coach Denny Surovec in lauding his team's effort. "We got contributions from everyone on the roster, and our intensity was fantastic for 40 minutes."

With 3:04 left, Balis drained a three-pointer to give the Mustangs a 95-90 lead that they would not relinquish. Montgomery made key free throws down the stretch to ensure the outcome.

Five of Balis' seven field goals came from beyond the arc and he was 6-of-6 on free throws. Gibbs, meanwhile, converted 12 of his 23 field goals, with 20 of his 35 points coming in the first half. He was 2-of-4 from three-point range and made nine of 12 shots from the foul line.

"There's no doubt that finally getting Gibbs on the court was a big boost for this team," Surovec said.

Jalil Shafi led the Mustangs with 10 of his team's 37 rebounds and finished the game with 16 points, including all four of his free throws. Anthony Patterson and Kevin Woods each added 12 points apiece, with Patterson adding seven rebounds.

Statistically, Montgomery enjoyed a solid afternoon. The team hit on just over 44 percent of its field goals, making 35 of 79 shots -- 10 of those shots were of the three-point variety. Especially impressive was the team's performance from the foul line, where they made 30 of 38 free throws. The team also limited its turnovers to 14.

Thanks to good shooting and a pressure, full-court defensive effort, Montgomery jumped out to a 12-5 lead a little over four minutes into the game. A frazzled Hawks team had no answer early and committed four team fouls in that span.

However, the Hawks regained their composure and staged a wild 20-11 run to take a 25-23 lead with just over nine minutes remaining in the first half. The game see-sawed back and forth from there with Harrisburg clinging to a 47-45 at halftime.

Much like the start of the game the Mustangs dictated things to start the second half. They went on a 12-2 run to take a 57-49 lead. Harrisburg cut the deficit to five before finally tying things up at 87-87 with just under seven minutes remaining in the game.

The Mustangs responded by closing out the game -- and the Hawks -- with a 23-14 run.

"This is definitely an effort to build on for the remainder of the season," Surovec said.

Next up: a trip to Bethlehem Tuesday evening for an 8 pm tip-off against the Spartans of Northampton Community College. The Mustangs topped the Spartans 82-74 on home court in November.

- By Bob Kent, Sports Information Director