The most intense rivalry in Maryland Juco is when Montgomery College and Prince George's Community College meet. Neighboring counties with endless talent within, the "Battle of the Beltway" is always a tough grind it out contest. This time around, thanks in large part to the Raptors sophomore standout Collin Turner (#3 white pictured above) 38 point performance, Montgomery College walked off their home court victorious with a 83-78 win. PGCC was led by sophomore guard Mykal Johnson who finished with a team high 22 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assist. Fellow sophomore guard Gus Stone added 20 points on 9-15 shooting and sophomore guard Kennith Ford posted 18 points respectively. Along with Turner, Montgomery was paced by a double double of 13 points and 15 rebounds from center Carl Brown and a 8 point,12 rebound performance from forward Freddie Harris.
Collin Turner: Special talent. Pro scorer to say the least. He has all of the tools. With PGCC up big early in the game 18-7, Turner sparked a 21-8 run for the Raptors, including a 10-0 run himself, to give Montgomery a 28-26 lead. He finished with 23 points at the half. In the second half, PGCC trapped him every time he touched the ball and what impressed me the most was his poise in those moments. He didn't force shots, he moved the ball and waited for the Owls to make a mistake defensively, rather if it was from a late rotation or mismatch with a big, and then he took full advantage. With the Owls trapping him the entire second half, Turner still managed to score 15 points. He can score from all three levels, score through a number of ways, spot up jumpers, jumpers off the bounce, runners, floaters, can finish at the rim, good free throw shooter and is deadly efficient. It's no fluke why Turner leads the ENTIRE NJCAA in scoring and I expect a lot of programs to come calling for services sooner than later.
Gus Stone & Mykal Johnson (pictured above) Combo: Owls sophomore duo is as lethal as they come. They came ready to play and combined for 44 of PGCC's 78 points. They had PGCC within reach of securing a big conference road victory despite the big scoring night from Turner. Both are versatile guards and willing leaders. With such a young inexperience team, if the Owls are to get to the heights they achieved last season, Stone and Johnson will have to carry them there.
Mental/Fundamental Errors for PGCC: The game was close all night and went down to the wire and the Owls made mistake after mistake and Montgomery made them pay. On a free throw attempt by Mykal Johnson late to potentially tie the game, a teammate moved, committing a violation which gave Johnson one free throw attempts instead of two. On the next possession, an Owls players had the ball stripped from him and he watched the Montgomery player dive pass him, secure possession and call a timeout. And there were countless offensive rebounds for the Raptors. All of these things happened in the last 3-4 minutes of the game and Turner as well as sophomore guard Chris Johnson went 7-8 from line late to secure the win. Montgomery out rebounded PGCC 53-37 including 28-9 on the offensive boards. Little fundamental things decide who wins big games and that's what ultimately decided this game.
Carl Brown was the x-factor: As he dominated inside throughout the night posting 13 points and a game high 15 rebounds. His physical style got Owls standout big James Hagins in foul trouble and it opened the paint for Montgomery on offense and allowed them to control the rebounding as well. A heart and hustle player, teams must account for him and not just come in thinking contain Turner and we win or Brown will make teams pay.
Kennith Ford: is an unsung player for the Owls. He kept the Owls close in the second half going to work from mid range to exploit Montgomery zone defense. He stepped up with Johnson on the bench in foul trouble and honestly played pretty sound defense on Turner when he was defending him. Turner just hit some tough shots. If Ford can bring this what he brought against Montgomery consistently for the remainder of season, it will open things up tremendously for the rest of the team. He's capable of being the spark plug for PGCC moving forward.