FLINT, Michigan — Mott will still need some help to get back in the MCCAA state championship game next month, but the Bears may well be the best team in the east regardless.
Mott made amends for its double overtime loss to Oakland CC last month with a statement win on Saturday afternoon at home, 96-85. Just last Saturday, Mott dominated Wayne County (currently tied for first place in the east) by 16 points.
No. 4-ranked Oakland (21-3) came into the game winners of four straight and tied for first in the MCCAA Eastern Conference. Mott (20-5) entered the game smarting from a 3-point loss on the road at St. Clair Wednesday night. The Bears desperately needed a win, and not just any win; Mott needed remind to remind folks that it’s still the most powerful JUCO program in Michigan.
In spite of all the ups and downs this season, the Bears lived up to the reputation in a big way.
Sparked by sophomore Malik Albert, Mott led by 10 midway through the first half. OCC cut the deficit to two points before freshman guard Lorenzo Collier scored five points in 20 seconds to push Mott’s lead back to nine points.
The Bears led by 11 points at the end of a forgettable half for OCC. The Raiders failed to record a single assist in the half (only two for the game). The Bears had 11 team assists and were buoyed by Albert’s 10-for-11 from the charity stripe.
This game marked Collier’s best performance of the season. He finished with 20 points in 29 minutes and hit a couple momentum-changing baskets in the second half.
Mott led by as many as 16 in the second half and cruised to victory despite being saddled by 33 personal fouls, a near mirror image of the first game between these two teams. It’s becoming clear that Mott’s chief rival for the foreseeable future will be Oakland, as the last several games between these two teams have been intense. There is no love lost between these two programs
Albert led the Bears with 21 points, eight assists in 34 minutes. He was the key to the victory, as Oakland could not stop him from getting to the basket and drawing fouls (15-for-16 from the line). Sophomore Jamal Reynolds also turned in an excellent all-around performance, scoring 16 points on nine shots and pulling down seven rebounds. Freshman guard Marcus Johnson added 11 points.
Oakland’s top player, Jametrius Wade, scored 22 points with right rebounds. He’s one of the top JUCO players in the state and a matchup problem for most teams. Nathan Stepney added 20 for the Raiders.
Mott will return to action at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night on the road against Kirtland. The Bears’ final four games of the regular season will be against teams with combined records well under. 500.