Men's basketball took on Passaic County Community College on Thursday for their first game of the 2018-19 season. Last season, the Mustangs finished with one win, but with a new coach and plenty of new players, no one was really sure what to expect.
First year head coach Nyere Miller had the team ready to go and they blasted off to a lead right from the start of the game. Both teams battled, but Montgomery maintained their lead throughout the first half, thanks to consistent shooting and good rebounding. At halftime, Passaic had cut their lead to seven, with a 43-36 score.
Passaic began to make their comeback in the second half. Foul trouble led to the Mustangs getting outrebounded by 10 for the game and allowed the Panthers to reach the double bonus much earlier than normal. Passaic chipped away at the Mustang lead late in the second half.
Finally, with 6.9 seconds left, the Panthers sunk a shot to take the lead, 75-73. The Mustangs knew that they would only have one shot if they hoped to win the game. Jordan Wright (FR, Harriton) took the inbound pass and was immediately pressured by a Passaic defender. He used his ball handling skills to break free and looked for the pass. Sophomore Vincent Zulli (Perkiomen Valley) had seen his opportunity and made a run to the corner, where he was wide open. Wright saw that too and made the pass. Zulli launced a quick three from the corner as time expired. Everyone in the gym watched the ball sail through the air, eventually sinking right through the net and winning the game for the Mustangs. The team and the crowd subsequently rushed the court, celebrating the big win.
While Zulli certainly grabbed the spotlight, Montgomery had a few athletes who stood out during the first game. Cameron Reid (FR, Spring-Ford) shot 50% from the floor and led the team in points, with 23. Wright's assist to Zulli was only one of the freshman's team leading seven assists in his debut game for the Mustangs. Wright also recorded five steals, several of which led to points for the Mustangs. Finally, Seth Compas (FR, Wissahickon) and Ryan Black (FR, Hatboro Horsham) dominated the boards, with nine and eight rebounds respectively.
Men's basketball has already matched last season's win total in the first game of the season, so you can expect even more from the team this year. Head coach Nyere Miller, who had previously coached at Widener University and Salem College, gets his first win as head coach of the Mustangs. His next challenge will come against Bucks County Community College at home on Tuesday.