Montez Mathis scores 30 points in a 74-53 romp over Mt. St. Joe

by Gary Adornato

John Carroll’s Rutgers-bound senior Montez Mathis poured in 30 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the Patriots’ 74-52 season-opening win over Mount St. Joseph.

Despite the absence of John Carroll All-American and University of Kentucky commit Immanuel Quickley, plenty of future Division I talent graced the basketball court Monday evening at John Carroll, as the host Patriots made a huge early statement in the Baltimore Catholic League with a 74-53 pounding of defending champion Mount St. Joseph.

Senior Montez Mathis, who will play a Rutgers University next season, put on a show with a game-high 30 points and 13 rebounds, to lead John Carroll, out-dualing future Big 10 rival Jalen Smith of St. Joe. Smith, the 2016-17 VSN Player of the Year who is headed to the University of Maryland next year, finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds for the Gaels.

Quickly, who missed the first month of last season with a foot injury, watched in street clothes on Monday as he continues to recover from mononucleosis and after Monday’s performance it is scary to think how good the Patriots could be when he returns to the lineup.

“Immanuel is a real big piece for us,” said Mathis. “He is the best point guard in the country. I just want to get him really healthy and don’t rush it back. When we get him back he will lead us and I will lead too.”

St. Joe (1-1) raced out to an early 6-0 lead and led 19-14 at the end of one quarter, as Smith netted 10 points in the opening period. Mathis responded with 11 second quarter points and the JC defense held the Gaels to just nine in the quarter as the Patriots took a 34-28 lead at the half.

St. Joe pulled within four points twice, early in the third quarter, but John Carroll went on a 12-3 run as the Patriots opened up a 50-37 lead with 1:44 remaining in the third. St. Joe never seriously threatened again.

“It feels good getting this win,” added Mathis. “Mount St. Joe is a really good team. They have a great player in “Sticks” (Smith) and they have a bunch of great players. I just wanted to start the year out right with this win.”

According to St. Joe coach Pat Clatchey, John Carroll (1-0) was able to take his team out of its game.

“Hats off to John Carroll. They played terrifically,” said Clatchey. “They played like they were in mid-season form. Their effort on the glass and in the interior was on a high level. We just didn’t react or respond to it very well and it kind of snowballed. I think we lost our poise and composure a little bit.”

John Carroll head coach John Zitto, now in his second season with the Patriots, said his team’s effort was the difference.”

“Certainly you don’t expect that when you play a team like St. Joe,” said Zitto of the easy win. “I was really proud of our guys defensively. I thought we rebounded well and I was really proud of the effort we gave on the defensive end.”

Zitto also said Mathis and the rest of the team’s supporting cast is more than capable of carrying the load in Quickley’s absence.

“Tez is a big time player. In moments like this, we know we can count on him. We definitely got a lot of contributions from other guys, for sure. Maybe not numbers that show up in the stat sheets, but a lot of contributions.”

Cameron Byers scored seven consecutive points in the fourth quarter and finished with 10, to go with outstanding defensive work in the interior. Yavuz Gultekin added 17 points for the Patriots and Brandon Craig finished with nine.

MSJ 19 9 13 12 — 53
JC 14 20 19 21 — 74
MOUNT ST. JOSEPH: Jalen Smith 26, Tim McDonald 6, Tyler Breisford 3, James Bishop 5, Tyree Myers 4, Kendall McMillan 9. TOTALS: 20 11-14 53.
JOHN CARROLL: Montez Mathis 30, Yavuz Gultekin 17, Brandon Craig 9, Cameron Beyers 10, Nigel Haughton 2, Qadir Ismail 1. TOTALS: 27 14-20 74.