St Frances sophomore point guard Ace Baldwin scored 14 of his game high 24 points in the 4th quarter and overtime to hold off John Carroll
In an early season heavyweight MIAA battle, St Frances put the conference and area on notice that they are indeed a team to deal with, going on the road to defeat a talented John Carroll team, 78-73. The Patriots were without star point guard , Kentucky commit Immanuel Quickley and Panthers sophomore point guard Ace Baldwin took full advantage. Baldwin set the tone early, blending controlling the pace and looking for scoring opportunities perfectly to put St Frances out in front 20-16 after one. Baldwin and sharpshooter Elijah Epps combined to score 12 of the Panthers 20 points. John Carroll responded in the second, behind the inspired play of senior guard and Rutgers commit Montez Mathis. Mathis did everything, scoring, setting up his teammates and playing intense defense which included numerous full court run down blocks to keep St Frances from running away with the lead as the Panthers led 35-28 at the half.
John Carroll senior guard Montez Mathis at the line
Panthers sniper Elijah Epps
In the third, Mathis received some assistance to carry the load for John Carroll in high flying junior Yavuz Gultekin. Gultekin was hot from mid range and his swarming defense helped hold Baldwin scoreless in the period to help John Carroll close the gap to three, however, St Frances still held an 47-44 lead. In the fourth quarter, both teams battled to a standstill to force overtime after Baldwin knocked down three clutch free throws with seconds left in regulation to tie it at 64.
John Carroll's talented 6'7 wing Yavuz Gultekin
Overtime, belonged to Baldwin. The poised beyond his years floor general scored 8 points in overtime to seal the hard fought road win for the Panthers.
Baldwin posted a game high 24 points while guards Epps and Jordan Toles added 18 and 14 points respectively.
John Carroll senior guard Montez Mathis and junior forward Yavuz Gultekin led the Patriots with 22 and 15 points.
ACE BALDWIN is as good as advertised. I was thoroughly impressed at his poise when John Carroll made runs and how he slowed his team down and made sure they got quality shots, especially in the fourth and overtime. He's also an underrated defender. He made John Carroll guards work to set up the offense and is great rotating to help. Total package.
MONTEZ MATHIS is arguably the top two way guard in the MIAA. Nice size, athleticism, skill, I.Q and will makes him a handful to deal with on both ends. He routinely ran down St Frances players who were alone on the break and blocked their shots off the glass to make sure the Panthers didn't have an impossible lead. On offense, he's lethal attacking the basket in transition and off the bounce, and if he's knocking down the jumper, he becomes unguardable.
EPPS & TOLES are a dangerous combination and compliment to Baldwin in the back court. Elijah Epps is a rare blend of a scorer and shooter and he knows it. Epps knocked down four threes in the win over John Carroll. Jordan Toles has a chance to have the same impact on both ends as Mathis. Explosive guard that can finish and defend with the best of them already and he comes off the bench. Tells you how strong St Frances is this season.
LOOK OUT FOR John Carroll 6'7 forward Qadir Ismail. Ismail is a tough presence inside who can rebound and finish strong in traffic. A nice inside factor to add balance to the Patriots perimeter attack with Quickley (once he returns), Mathis and Gultekin.