In Phoenix College's last outing they defeated the ACCAC's top team, Arizona Western Junior College, on their home floor. But that win had been more than a week ago and Phoenix College would look to overcome any rust gained over the holidays. On Sunday evening, Phoenix College head coach Matt Gordon and his staff would look to get their team back to that same level, as they faced a new Howard Junior College (TX) program in the Maricopa County Holiday Classic on their home floor.
Howard Junior College (TX) is widely known as one of the top junior college programs in the country each year, but after reaching the NJCAA National Tournament last year, head coach Scott Raines and his staff are in their first year - taking over the program for former successful head coach Mark Adams. After 9 years as the head coach for Howard, Adams left the program and took over as the Director of Basketball Operations at Texas Tech University.
Howard (12-1) would come into Sunday's game playing very well this season, and would jump out to a quick 20-12 lead over Phoenix College, behind the play of 6-foot-5 sophomore forward Eric Weary Jr. Weary's ability to shoot the basketball from the perimeter, and Phoenix College's inability to make shots early would allow Howard to take an early advantage.
Phoenix College has relied heavily on the play of superb 5-foot-10 freshman guard Brandon Brown this season, and Brown's 8 points early in the first half would keep PC within reach.
Howard would cruise to a 35-30 halftime lead behind a game-high 11 first-half points from Weary.
Phoenix College would remain close in the second half, and after a three-pointer from the wing by 6-foot-4 sophomore forward Brandon Pineda, Phoenix would pull within 6 points, 53-47. After a driving layup from Brandon Brown, Phoenix would pull within 5 points, 61-56, with 3:40 left to play.
That would be as close as Phoenix College would get though, as Howard would hold to a 65-56 victory.
Recruiting Notes: Howard Junior College (TX) 6-foot-7, 255-pound sophomore post Demeco Blue played very well in his team's win on Sunday. The wide-bodied post player has quick hands and feet and runs the floor very hard. He is a very good competitor and teammate and is the inspirational leader of the Howard ballclub. A good low-post scorer and an active rebounder that uses his large body nicely. A nice looking post prospect for the mid-major division-I level.