No. 5-ranked Mott crushes Schoolcraft College, 115-67

Posted: February 22, 2014 by Jared Field in College, JUCO, Mott
Mott sophomore Devin Foster scored 20 points with 10 assists in a blowout win over Schoolcraft Saturday.

Mott sophomore Devin Foster scored 20 points with 10 assists in a blowout win over Schoolcraft Saturday. (Gerry Leslie photo)

FLINT, Michigan — It didn’t take long for no. 5-ranked Mott to assert its will over Schoolcraft College on Saturday afternoon in Flint. Mott, led by sophomore guard Devin Foster, improved its record to 22-5 in dominant fashion, 115-67.

Just four minutes into the game, a barrage of buckets had buried the Ocelets under a 17-2 run. Mott sophomore Malik Albert had 11 points in just over six minutes.

A rare 3-pointer from Mott’s 6-5 freshman Ruston Hayward put the Bears up 29-10 with 12 minutes left in the first half.  A dunk in transition by Albert led to a second timeout by Schoolcraft. The Bears kept up the pressure defensively and turned a few more giveaways into points, including a hammer dunk by Hayward to put the Bears up 39-13 midway through the half.

Two straight baskets, including a tip-dunk, by sophomore Jamal Reynolds, put Mott up 47-19 with seven minutes left in the half. Two straight 3-pointers from freshman guard Marcus Johnson cranked it up to 32. Johnson poured in 13 of his 20 points in the first half.

Mott head coach Steve Schmidt played every man on the roster in the half, and led 67-32 after the first 20 minutes.

The 67-point half was Mott’s best this season. The Bears shot 64 percent in the first half, made their first two shot attempts in the second.

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NJCAA

NJCAA | 2014

Mott sophomore Malik Albert.

Mott sophomore Malik Albert.

Malik Albert has done just about everything that Mott’s Mount Rushmore of players have done, save for one: and it’s the one that matters most to his coach.

“We’ve had players before win national awards, players like Kevin Tiggs, Jeremie Simmons and (most recently) John Taylor,” said Mott head coach Steve Schmidt after Albert was named the NJCAA’s National Player of the Week on Thursday. “Those guys have something that Malik doesn’t — a national championship ring. I’ve said that before. It’s not a knock on Malik, but it’s a true statement.”

Fortunately, Albert’s career is not yet over.

Schmidt said he was getting a little impatient, having nominated his star player for the award several times this season. His lead assistant, Carl Jones, joked that he should probably should have taken the hint.

“There was no way I was giving up,” Schmidt said, whose no. 5-ranked Bears are 21-5 this season. “Some people may think that I don’t go to bat for my players, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. I do more fighting for my players than most people would ever realize. Not only is this a great, well-deserved accomplishment for Malik, it’s also great for the team.”

Albert earned the honor not just for an excellent performance in a win over no. 8-ranked Oakland on Saturday, but for his body of work this season. The sophomore is averaging 25 points, 4.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game through 26 games.

He is the focal point of Mott’s offense; when opposing coaches scheme to stop one player, he is that one player. They haven’t had much success.

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Mott freshman Lorenzo Collier turned in his best performance of the season on Saturday, scoring 20 points in a win over Oakland.

Mott freshman Lorenzo Collier turned in his best performance of the season on Saturday, scoring 20 points in a win over Oakland.

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.

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Mott sophomore Malik Albert's 34 points were not enough against St. Clair Wednesday night.

Mott sophomore Malik Albert’s 34 points were not enough against St. Clair Wednesday night.

I missed out on Mott’s road game versus St. Clair on Wednesday night (I’m still in Florida). Suffice it to say, I didn’t miss much. The two most glaring deficiencies for the Bears this season, free throw shooting and defense, joined together to haunt them in Port Huron. The Bears surrendered 103 points and bricked 21 free throws, losing to the Skippers by three and frittering away any realistic chance of playing for a state title this season.

That’s not a misprint: 21 freebies missed and 103 points given up in a regulation college game.

It was the Bears first loss to the Skippers since I’ve been covering them. Port Huron is always a tough place to play, but Mott always managed to pull out a win (even with less talented teams than this one).

Mott’s leading scorer, sophomore Malik Albert, turned in a huge performance with 34 points, eight assists and five steals. Even so, it was not enough to overcome another ridiculous defensive performance by the Bears.

In Mott’s five losses this year, the Bears have given up 94 points per game. For followers of the program, one built on defensive intensity, that’s simply unthinkable. The team’s lack of care for defense, and its five losses, put the program in rarefied air. Only once in the last decade has a team coached by Steve Schmidt lost more than five games.

Oh, and the next game on the schedule is against Oakland Community College (currently in a tie for first place in the MCCAA Eastern Conferece). The last two games were must-win games for Mott. The Bears beat Wayne and lost to St. Clair. With a state title now out of the question, Saturday’s game versus Oakland is a must-win for an entirely different reason: Is Mott a contender or pretender in 2014?

We will find out on Saturday.

MCCAA Standings

Eastern Conference
School MCCAA Overall GB Home Away Neutral Streak
10 – Wayne County 12-1 .923 18-3 .857 9-1 6-2 3-0 Won 2
10 – Oakland 11-1 .917 21-2 .913 0.5 11-0 7-1 3-1 Won 4
10 – Mott 10-3 .769 19-5 .792 2.0 12-0 7-5 0-0 Lost 1
St. Clair County 7-6 .538 14-10 .583 5.0 7-3 5-7 2-0 Won 1
Schoolcraft 5-8 .385 12-11 .522 7.0 5-4 6-7 1-0 Won 1
Henry Ford 5-8 .385 10-13 .435 7.0 7-6 3-7 0-0 Lost 1
Delta 5-8 .385 10-14 .417 7.0 6-7 3-7 1-0 Lost 1
Macomb 4-9 .308 10-13 .435 8.0 6-6 3-7 1-0 Won 1
Alpena 3-10 .231 5-16 .238 9.0 3-7 2-7 0-2 Lost 1
Kirtland 2-10 .167 6-14 .300 9.5 5-5 1-7 0-2 Lost 3
Western Conference
School MCCAA Overall GB Home Away Neutral Streak
9 – Glen Oaks 11-1 .917 20-3 .870 13-1 7-2 0-0 Won 2
9 – Kalamazoo Valley 9-3 .750 19-6 .760 2.0 11-2 8-3 0-1 Lost 1
9 – Grand Rapids 7-4 .636 14-7 .667 3.5 5-3 9-4 0-0 Won 2
Ancilla 7-4 .636 10-12 .455 3.5 6-6 4-5 0-1 Won 1
Lansing 6-4 .600 16-7 .696 4.0 7-2 7-3 2-2 Won 3
Lake Michigan 7-5 .583 15-10 .600 4.0 6-6 9-4 0-0 Won 2
Jackson 2-9 .182 10-14 .417 8.5 6-9 4-5 0-0 Lost 4
Muskegon 2-10 .167 9-15 .375 9.0 4-7 4-7 1-1 Lost 3
Kellogg 0-11 .000 1-22 .043 10.5 1-4 0-13 0-5 Lost 15
9 – NJCAA District 9 Qualifer
10 – NJCAA District 10 Qualifier

Video  —  Posted: February 9, 2014 by Jared Field in High School

Mott sophomore Devin Foster scored 14 points on seven shots with five assists in a win over Wayne on Saturday in Flint.

Mott sophomore Devin Foster scored 14 points on seven shots with five assists in a win over Wayne on Saturday in Flint.

FLINT, Michigan — Saturday’s game versus no. 8-ranked Wayne was, if there is such a thing in early February, a must-win. This one had been circled on the schedule ever since the Bears’ second half collapse cost them a win over Wayne in Detroit last month.

This time around, a healthy Mott squad put the hurt on the Wildcats, 74-58; and, in truth, it wasn’t that close.

Mott (18-4) dominated this game on the defensive end from start to finish. The Bears held Wayne to only two field goals in the first eight minutes and forced 30 turnovers in the game. Wayne only managed 21 points in the first half and trailed by 13 at the break. The Bears led by as many as 23 in the second half and didn’t let off the gas until the final three minutes.

The difference between these two top-end MCCAA teams is pretty simple: guard play. Mott has it; Wayne doesn’t. Mott’s three-headed monster in the backcourt (Malik Albert, Marcus Johnson and Devin Foster), combined for 40 points with only five turnovers. Foster played a great all-around game, showing off his tremendous transition passing ability.

Longtime Mott assistant Carl Jones told Foster after the game that Saturday’s performance is something he can replicate every game. He has the ability.

Mott shot 54 percent from the field as a team and tallied 20 total steals, a season high.

Wayne (16-3) will remain tied for first in the Eastern Conference with Oakland. Mott will have the opportunity to avenge its only other conference loss on Saturday against Oakland. The Raiders beat Mott in a triple overtime thriller last month in Auburn Hills.

With Wayne still having a road game versus Oakland on the schedule, there could be a logjam atop the Eastern Conference at season’s end.

Shaun Duncan led all scorers with 16 points for Wayne.

Mott freshman Ruston Hayward added 10 points and four rebounds despite losing the bulk of the first half to foul trouble. Hayward sat out the first game against Wayne due to a knee injury.

The Bears will return to action at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night on the road versus St. Clair.

Mott freshman Ruston Hayward scored 24 points with six assists, five steals and four rebounds against Macomb on Thursday night. Two of his 24 came on this nasty dunk in traffic. (Photo by Gerry Leslie)

Mott freshman Ruston Hayward scored 24 points with six assists, five steals and four rebounds against Macomb on Thursday night. Two of his 24 came on this nasty dunk in traffic. (Photo by Gerry Leslie)

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.