Almost one year ago to the day, Mott Community College went toe-to-toe with rival Lansing at their place. Mott missed a pair of free throws with the game tied, gave the ball back to Lansing and lived to regret it. Devlin Bell’s rebound and putback at the buzzer gave Lansing the victory, 83-81.
Fast forward one year and one day, Mott was up one in the game’s final two seconds — this time in Flint. Lansing split from the stripe to tie the game at 81. That set the stage for the heroics of freshman guard Malik Young. After Darryl LeVert cleared the rebound, Young caught the ball and free-wheeled for about eight seconds before driving left and hitting a runner as the buzzer sounded. Another game, another 83-81 thriller. It was the culmination of a second half resurgence by the Bears highlighted by a pivotal three-pointer from freshman guard Amariontez Ivory-Thomas.
Mott fell behind by as many as 10 points in the second half after trailing by six points at the half. The Bears’ superior depth proved to be the difference maker.
Every player on Mott’s 11-man roster scored at least four points. Freshman guard Joseph Stamps led Mott (4-0) with 15 points and three assists. Young and Ivory-Thomas added 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Lansing (2-3), by contrast, is top heavy. The team’s starters were responsible for 68 of the team’s 81 points. Javon Haines led all scorers with 20 points and eight rebounds. Tracy Edmond added 15 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.
Mott head coach Steve Schmidt will never be disappointed in a win over Lansing. That said, Mott certainly has more to offer their hall of fame head coach on both ends of the floor. The Bears shot 39 percent from the floor and a paltry 20 percent from three-point range in the game.
On the defensive end, the Bears surrendered 45 points in the first half and put the Stars on the foul line 42 times. That said, getting a win over a quality opponent without the ‘A’ game is reassuring. The smart money is on this team continuing to improve and, by the end of the year, being one of the top teams in the country at this level. Bear in mind this is a team without a single returning player from last season.
Mott returns to action on Black Friday at home against Sinclair. The game tips at 7 p.m.