McHENRY, Md. – Zakeem Davis put consecutive exclamation points on what became an 83-50 men's basketball victory by Garrett College Sunday afternoon against visiting Howard Community College.
The first was a two-handed slam on a breakaway off a back-court steal with 14:08 to play. The second – just 35 seconds later – was a slam with a much higher degree of difficulty, a perfectly-time follow dunk off teammate Kai Thompson's miss that stretched the Lakers' lead to 56-28.
"Usually when I go up for an offensive rebound, all I can think is 'dunk it, dunk it, dunk it,' " said Davis, who finished with a team-high 24 points. "My favorite slasher to the rim is [Oklahoma City's Russell] Westbrook. I'm just an aggressive player."
The Davis-led victory capped a roller-coaster week for the Lakers. Garrett stunned conference regular-season champion Baltimore City Community College, 80-62, last Monday behind Devin Wilkerson's game-high 27 points only to be upset at struggling Chesapeake College, 62-55, on Friday night in a contest in which Gibson said his Lakers "couldn't shoot the basketball into the ocean."
GC (15-8 overall, 8-6 league) used Sunday's victory to clinch a winning Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference campaign. The Lakers will finish their regular season Wednesday night with a 6:30 p.m. contest against visiting Northern Virginia Community College before participating in the state tournament this weekend, starting Friday, at Hagerstown Community College.
After Sunday's win, GC head coach Dennis Gibson sounded like he would have been willing to buy a ticket to watch Davis, who also had 8 rebounds and 2 assists.
"We have to find another guy like that," said Gibson. "I hate taking him out of the game. I love watching him play."
Gibson mentioned Davis' passing as an illuminating strength.
"When your best player is also an unselfish player, it makes you a better team," said Gibson.
While Davis' dunks were spectacular, he had plenty of help. Meron Ghebreyesus (12 points) and Strahinja Ivic (10 points, 7 rebounds) also reached double figures for the Lakers. Marin Lisica (5 rebounds) added 8 points while Thompson (6 rebounds) and Kevin Salley (3 rebounds) each scored 7 points.
Jordan Reid scored a game-high 26 points to pace injury-depleted Howard (4-22, 2-12).
"I have no complaints with how hard we played," said HCC head coach Joel Dearring, whose squad includes some players who started the season as team managers. "I didn't plan for seven of our top 12 players to be out due to injuries, but I'm excited about the program's future."
Kevin Yombo, who scored 11 points, was the only other Dragon to reach double figures.
The Lakers wasted little time taking control of the contest against their outmatched guests, overcoming an early 5-1 deficit with a 14-0 scoring spree that gave GC a quick, double-digit lead. Davis – showing he's more than just a dunk machine – had consecutive 3-pointers while scoring the final 8 points of the run.
GC extended its lead to 44-26 at halftime, and then blew the game wide open with a 12-2 run right out of the break. Davis started the run with a pair of layups and ended it with the consecutive slams.