Sagemont junior Rod Days Jr. saved his best for a national television audience on Friday. Showing why Boston College, Florida State, South Carolina and Wake Forest have targeted him as a 6-6 wing player with a huge upside, Days poured in a career-high 28 points, including back-to-back three-pointers that cut a seven-point lead to three with 20 seconds left but Sagemont's upset bid fell short in a 57-52 loss to No. 10-ranked Montverde Academy at Florida Atlantic University.
“I think this is the best we played all season,’’ said Days who made a career-high five three-pointers. “We came to play and the shots were just dropping for me. Teammates were opening things up for me today. At the end we fouled the wrong guys and they knocked down free throws. This is going to help us a lot.”
The game was broadcast by ESPNU as the first half of a Old Spice Showcase doubleheader that concluded with Brandon Knight-led Pine Crest against No. 16-ranked Winter Park and Austin Rivers, ranked No. 8 in the 2011 class.
While Days was undeniably Sagemont's best player on the court Friday, Indiana 6-5 signee Will Sheehey had 14 points and Syracuse 7-foot signee Fabricio De Melo added 10 points, the Lions' ultimately couldn't overcome a backcourt which went scoreless.
Despite the loss, Sagemont coach Adam Ross came away feeling good about his team's playoffs prospects after watching them play Montverde tough throughout.
“You have to play a near perfect game to beat Montverde and we came up short,’’ said Lions coach Adam Ross. “I give us a nine out of 10 but you need a 10 against a team like that. I’m proud of our kids. We battled our butts off. You want to win every game but this was more about the exposure for our team and to play on a national stage is huge.”
Steve Moundu-Missi led the Eagles (21-4) with 19 points but it was Villanova 6-5 signee James Bell who put the Lions away, scoring six consecutive free throws as part of a 17-point night.
Montverde led 49-46 with 2:38 left after a put-back dunk by Moundu-Missi off a Bell miss. Bell then hit four consecutive free throws to push the lead to 53-46 before Days drained a three-pointer in front of the Lions' bench and followed with another from the left corner to pull the Lions to 55-52 with 20 seconds left.
The Lions' last-gasp upset attempt ended when Days’ three-point attempt with 2.8 seconds left fell short and the ball rolled out of bounds.
MA (21-4): Mondu-Missi 19, Bell 17, J. Jones 6, Clyburn 13, Ndao 2.
Sag (18-6): Days 28, Sheehey 14, De Melo 10. Three-pointers: Days 5, Sheehey 1, Bell 1, Jones 1.