AUBURN HILLS, Michigan — No. 9-ranked Mott had two chances to snap Oakland CC’s 10-game winning streak on Saturday. The Bears failed in both endeavors and finally succumbed to the Raiders in the second overtime, 111-105.
Trailing by three at the half, Mott took its first lead of the half at the 16-minute mark. Mott extended its lead to seven at the 11-minute mark, but frittered it away just two minutes later. All told, there were more than a dozen ties or lead changes in the second half alone.
With 10 seconds remaining in regulation, Mott had the ball with a chance to win the game. Chester McFadden, a sophomore guard, missed a contested 3-pointer to send the game to overtime. In the first overtime, Mott had another prime opportunity to win the game. With five seconds to go, Mott freshman Lorenzo Collier hit the first of two free throws to put the Bears up two. After missing the second, Travontis Richardson got the rebound and hit Richard Roberts on an unchecked outlet for an easy lay-up to send the game into double overtime. McFadden, at midcourt, looked like an outfielder watching a home run ball.
By this time, three of Mott’s starters had fouled out including Malik Albert, the nation’s leading scorer, his backcourt mate Devin Foster, and small forward Myles Busby. In the second overtime, Mott looked out of sync offensively and failed to convert on a couple crucial shots down low.
This may well be a watershed game for Mott, as it was clear to anyone in attendance that the Bears gave one away. For the second time this season, Mott’s defensive effort was atrocious. I’ll have to check the archives, but I’m fairly certain I’ve never seen a Steve Schmidt coached team give up that many points — certainly not on transition lay-ups and uncontested baseline drives.
Albert, Mott’s top player, had a mediocre game not unlike his effort versus the Raiders on the road last season. He finished with 13 points, but he was not much of a factor.
After Oakland’s top player, Jemetrius Wade, inexplicably fouled out with 13 minutes left in regulation (why was he on the floor?), the best player on the court was Oakland sophomore Travontis Richardson. No one could stop him from getting to the basket, and he made nearly every free throw. He finished with a game-high 29 points.
Perhaps most disturbing was the Bears inability to convert free throws. As a team, Mott missed an astounding 19 free throws (25-for-44). Oakland shot 35-of-47 from the line.
Even the officiating in the game, as ridiculous as it was at times, is no excuse for the loss. It was ridiculous on both ends. Even with the two overtimes, more than 60 fouls in one game is an absolute joke.
Mott’s top gun on Saturday was reserve forward Jamal Reynolds who scored 23 points. Mott freshman Ruston Hayward returned to the court after a knee injury kept him on the sidelines for a month. He finished with 13 points, but did not appear to be anywhere near 100 percent.
Marcus Johnson and Ruston Hayward added 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Mott (12-4) will get another chance against Oakland (15-1) at Ballenger Fieldhouse on February 15. The Bears return to action Monday night at home versus hapless Kirtland. The game tips at 7:30 p.m.