AACC stuns Howard, 90-88

December 13, 1992|By Tom Worgo | Tom Worgo,Contributing Writer

The Anne Arundel Community College men's basketball team sputtered early in the season, going 1-4 in its first five games.

But yesterday, the Pioneers gave further proof their early struggles are behind them. They played perhaps their best game of the year, defeating visiting Howard Community College, 90-88. The win improved surging AACC to 5-6.

Steve Strauss (Northeast) led AACC with 26 points, including three three-pointers, eight rebounds and a 13-for-14 performance from the line. The Pioneers' Gene Slocum added 20 points.

"They had some good outside shooters, and that made the difference," Howard CC coach Wheeler Brown said.

Howard is ranked eighth in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III poll. So a victory over one of the best teams in the Maryland JuCo may indicate the Pioneers have turned the corner for good.

"It was a great win against a great team," said AACC coach Rick Bloom. "This team is as good or even better than any we have played this season. This is the first time we played hard as a team for 40 minutes. And it showed in the results."

The loss slows down a squad that was playing its best basketball of the season. Howard had won nine of 10 after starting the season 0-3, and the Express dropped to 9-5 overall and 7-1 in the Maryland JuCo.

"Our motto is 40 minutes of hustle and hard work," Brown said. "We didn't give that today. The intensity and fire was not there."

Four former Old Mill players saw action -- Damion Sewell, Shawn Craig, Nijui Truesdale and Eric Sheppard. Sewell had 25 points and Truesdale eight. Another former Patriot, forward Ray Fountain, who was averaging 18 points and 15 rebounds, is out until mid-January after injuring his knee in a game last month.

Howard never led, but the Express tied the contest three times during the middle of the second half.

The game seemed to be over with 52 seconds remaining, as AACC extended its lead to 88-79 on a 5-0 run. Howard, however, closed the gap to four points on a pair of free throws by Kammau Street and a basket by Brian Parker.

Howard then sliced the lead to two points on two occasions in the final 30 seconds. But after Howard scored with three seconds remaining to make it 90-88, AACC ran the clock out.

"I think we are going to get better every week," Bloom said. "We have no starters from last year, and we are still learning. I think we definitely have to build on this. We have to build on this. If our play like this does not continue, we will be in serious trouble."

One of the keys to the win was letting Parker have a monster game. Although the Atholton grad scored 29 points, he could have had more.

"I think we kept him from going into orbit," Bloom said. "Talent-wise, he is a Division I player. He hit a lot of tough shots, but we forced him into taking a lot of off-balance shots."

Howard trailed all of the first half because of poor shooting. The Express shot 36 percent (15-for-41) from the field.

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