The No. 4-ranked Mott Community College Bears entered Thursday night’s game against Macomb (9-14) as close to full strength as they’ve been in the last couple months. With the exception of reserve forward Chester McFadden, who sat out nursing an ankle injury, head coach Steve Schmidt was fully staffed.
After struggling through the first half, the Bears turned a two-point halftime deficit into a double-digit lead midway through the second half. Mott (18-4) cruised to an 88-64 win and now turns its attention to Saturday’s showdown against No. 8-ranked Wayne (16-2).
Thursday night’s game featured an outstanding performance by freshman Ruston Hayward, including a dunk in the second half that hopefully finds its way to YouTube. Hayward scored 24 points with six assists, five steals and four rebounds.
Sophomore Malik Albert scored 20 points with five assists and four steals. Freshman Marcus Johnson added 13 points and five assists.
Mott may be without the services of sophomore Myles Busby on Saturday after he injured his ankle against Macomb. Fortunately, the Bears will have Hayward this time around.
“We didn’t have him last time, so getting him healthy is a big deal,” Schmidt said of Hayward. “It’s tough to win on the road in this conference, especially against the top teams. We are trying to defend our conference championship, and we have that opportunity ahead of us.”
Schmidt said his team is finally starting to come together after a season marked with inconsistency on and off the court.
“We’ve dealt with injuries, some poor decisions, but we have the team back together,” he said. “No more distractions. Saturday we’ll find out where we’re at. We’ll be ready.”
Truth be told, the Bears have two Saturday matinee measuring sticks this month. Wayne this Saturday and Oakland the following Saturday, both games at home. The Bears will, more than likely, need to win both to have a chance to defend their conference title.
Listen to Saturday’s game live on MRSN.us starting at 3 p.m.