Recap: Men Power Past Spartans With Strong 2nd Half

Recap: Men Power Past Spartans With Strong 2nd Half

BLUE BELL, Pa. - Anthony Patterson and Jalil Shafi each recorded a double-double and Nicko Balis scored all 18 of his points in the second half as the men's basketball team topped EPAC rival Northampton 82-74 for its first home win of the season Tuesday evening.

Tied 36-36 at the half, the second half was a see-saw affair that saw Montgomery lead by as many as nine before pulling away down the stretch, outscoring the Spartans 22-8 en route to an important EPAC victory.

Tuesday's outcome came down to turnovers. The Mustangs, who committed 33 in a loss to Harrisburg on Saturday, turned the ball over just 10 times against the Spartans. Northampton turned it over 26 times.

"We did a much better job of taking care of the ball tonight," said Head Men's Basketball Coach Denny Surovec. "That was key for us since we didn't shoot well from the field or foul line."

Point guard Kevin Woods directed the offense while Pattterson and Shafi made their presence felt at both ends of the court. Patterson finished with 18 points, 16 rebounds, six steals and four blocked shots, and Shafi grabbed 13 rebounds to go along with 12 points. Woods added 13 points as the Mustangs finished 25 of 77 from the field.

"This was a good team win as we got contributions up and down the lineup," Surovec said. "Patterson and Shafi controlled the boards all night (29 combined rebounds). Balis was huge in the second half (all 18 of his points), and Woods did a good job of running the offense."

Montgomery outscored Northampton 46-38 in the second half as poor free throw shooting and turnovers plagued the Spartans, who led 66-60 with 6:00 to go in regulation.

Balis delivered key baskets when his team needed it most. He converted four of seven shots from beyond the arc and made good on six of his eight free throws.

With the win Montgomery improves to 2-3 overall and 2-1 in EPAC play. The loss drops Northampton to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in conference play.

Montgomery's men's team is back in action Thursday at 8 pm when they host Luzerne County Community College.

- By Bob Kent, Sports Information Director