Add another impressive milestone to Gregg Downer's Hall of Fame career. On Saturday night, the Aces' coach earned his 400th victory, guiding LM to a convincing 67-48 win over Baltimore-area power McDonogh in the Mid-Atlantic Classic at Coatesville.
Junior guards BJ Johnson (24 points) and Raheem Hall (20 points, 6 assists, 5 steals) paced the Aces' attack. Mike Robbins '12 (11 points, 6 steals), Jaquan Johnson '14 (8 points, 7 assists) and Darryl Reynolds '12 (5 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks) rounded out the scoring.
Smothering defense and unselfish play -- the formula for so many of the previous 399 wins during Downer's tenure -- proved effective once again on Saturday night. The Aces forced 20 McDonogh turnovers in the game, including six in a decisive 15-6 first quarter run. LM extended the lead to 20 points late in the second quarter after a 45-second sequence of stellar ball movement led to a wide open BJ Johnson trey. All five Aces on the floor touched the ball at least once during the possession.
McDonogh, ranked #7 in Baltimore, cut an 18-point halftime margin to 13 early in the third thanks to the strong interior play of Division 1 prospect Kayel Locke, a bruising 6'6, 250 pound forward who finished with a game-high 28 points. But the Aces answered with an 8-2 run to close the quarter, punctuated by a Johnson dunk off a steal and assist by Hall.
Early in the 4th, McDonogh again cut the lead to 13 points, but the Aces scored unanswered on successive possessions with Robbins finding Hall streaking to the rim for a layup, and Johnson nailing another three-pointer. The Eagles would get no closer than 16 points the rest of the way.
The Aces' held McDonogh's talented wing guard BJ Andrews to a season-low 5 points.
The game proved a fitting performance for Coach Downer's 400th win -- a solid, workmanlike effort against a quality non-league opponent -- and a fine way to cap the first week of the season.
The Aces are back home on Tuesday night against Penncrest and head to Conestoga next Friday night.