FLINT, Michigan — Sophomore Fred Mattison put his team on his shoulders Saturday night, leading Mott to a come-from-behind 81-72 victory over no. 8-ranked Moraine Valley (Illinois).
Mattison finished with 23 points, 12 rebounds and three steals. He was a man among boys in the second half, imposing his will down low against defenders whose only recourse was to put him on the foul line. His cousin, Chavis Mattison, also turned in a strong performance with six points and 10 rebounds.
Mott (6-1) trailed by six at the half after trailing by 11 midway trough the first half. Moraine Valley shot 43 percent as a team from 3-point range and forced numerous turnovers on the press. The second half was a totally different story, on both ends of the floor. The Bears held Moraine Valley to 24 percent shooting in the second half including 4-of-17 from three-point range. The Bears also had an advantage on the glass, winning the rebounding battle 50-29.
Surprisingly Mott made its comeback without its second-leading scorer and best ballhandler, freshman Malik Albert, who spent much of the second half on the bench in foul trouble. Albert finished the game with 13 points while the Bears’ other freshman guard, Devin Foster, added 11 points and four assists.
The play of the game, a block by freshman wing Myles Busby, came late in the second half with Moraine Valley teetering on the verge of a comeback. Mott wasn’t threatened from that point on.
It’s no secret why Moraine Valley (11-2) is nationally-ranked. The Cyclones present a unique challenge offensively; even the best coaches have a tough time scheming against a team that rarely runs more than 10 seconds off the shot clock. Moraine Valley is the Grinnell College of JUCO basketball. They scored 90+ points in eight games this season and 130+ in two games. The team won its season opener over Columbia College by 106 points (you read that right). Their system is actually right-sized for their roster, one that is chock-full of quick and athletic combo guards. Darryl Hervey led the Cyclones off the bench with 15.
Mott held Moraine Valley’s leading scorer Karrington Ward, a top-ten scorer nationally, to six points on 3-of-14 shooting. Ward is verbally committed to Eastern Michigan University. EMU’s head coach, Rob Murphy, was in attendance.
Mott will return to action Wednesday night on the radio at Lansing CC. The game tips at 7:30 p.m.