Destination Danville: No. 1 Mott outlasts Oakland to win District 9 title

Posted: March 10, 2012 by Jared Field in JUCO

Mott Community College won the District 9 Championship for the second year in a row on Saturday, 82-74 over Oakland.

Mott sophomore John Taylor scored 41 points in Mott's win over Oakland.

FLINT, Michigan — Ten days to prepare for the NJCAA National Tournament is just what the hoops doctor ordered for n0. 1-ranked Mott Community College, now 31-1. The Bears are going to need all the time they can get to rest up to make another run at a national championship.

Mott expended every last ounce of effort on Saturday afternoon, outlasting no. 8-ranked Oakland 82-74 to punch its ticket to Danville, Illinois.

Mott struggled mightily in the face half as Oakland seemingly couldn’t miss from the perimeter in the game’s first 10 minutes. The Raiders led by as many as eight in the half and, after a missed front end of a one-and-one, Oakland went into the break up 5.

Sophomore John Taylor and freshman Ralph Eason took it upon themselves in the second half to carry Mott to victory. With the pair hitting on all cylinders, Mott chipped away at first and then put the hammer down in the second half. After shooting an abysmal 30 percent from the floor in the first half, Mott converted 63 percent of its shot attempts in the second half. Led by an offensive explosion from Taylor, Mott opened up a 12-point advantage with five minutes left.

The final five of clock time took about 30 minutes in real time as Oakland turned up the pressure on inbounds plays under the basket, just as they did last month when Mott held off Oakland in the final two minutes. The unsung hero for Mott in the final few minutes was sophomore Kortez Ross, who made a couple plays only a high-level college football recruit could make.

The game, and especially the final few minutes, put a stamp on what has been an incredible season for Taylor. No one could touch the 6-2 combo guard from start to finish. Taylor poured in 41 points on 25 shots including 16-19 free throws, many of which came in crunch time. It was Taylor’s second 40-point game in the last three.

Not to be outdone, Eason poured in 14 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals.

The game probably turned in the second half when Oakland’s 6-11 center, Ugochukwu Njoku, was whistled for his fifth foul. I’m not certain why he was even in the game at that point, but losing him really put a chink in Oakland’s defensive armor. His absence really opened up the lane for Eason and Taylor.

Njoku finished with zero points and seven rebounds. Aaron Hayes had a team-high 31 points for Oakland, including 15 from the foul line. I’ve really been impressed with Hayes this season. He’s really an underrated guard. Unfortunately for Oakland, Hayes needed a little more from one of their other top players — Anthony Welch, Jr. The 6-7 forward, probably OCC’s most talented player, scored 12 points with two rebounds and wasn’t a factor in the second half.

Taylor received the tournament’s MVP Award and Mott head coach Steve Schmidt received the MCCAA’s Coach of the Year Award. For as many times as he’s won that award, it should be probably have his name on it.

Mott will enter the NJCAA National Tournament (March 20-25) as the no. 1 seed.

Earlier today, Grand Rapids CC wrapped up the District 8 championship to earn its spot in the national tournament. It’s a shame, in a way, that Oakland’s season is over. Having been to the national tournament on numerous occasions, I can promise you that there will be 7-8 teams there that are not as good as Oakland — Grand Rapids is one of them.

  1. Freddie McCoy says:

    I agree with your assessment about Oakland and Lansing beat Oakland in the regular season and the way Lansing went out was tragic. Grand Rapids won by default because of Lansing’s sad situation.

  2. fatman says:

    So what was tragic about how Lansing went out? And why the demeaning comments regarding Grand Rapids? Mott beat GR by what 5 in Flint early in the season. Grand Rapids seemingly improved during the season finishing strong.

    • Freddie McCoy says:

      well, I see that you don’t paid attention to the news and plus I got inside information. You failed to realize that Lansing beat Grand Rapids in the last game of the regular season and then lost three players including their starting P.G Sanchez who lead the conference in assists and the team best defender and a key player, Wilson off the bench, two days before the district started. Without these key players, they lost to Jackson whom they beat twice in the regular season and Sanchez gave Grand Rapids problem in the two games they played this season. Sanchez generate 30 to 40 pts per game for Lansing, his production was very missed against Jackson last week. Grand Rapids 5pts loss against Mott in the first game of the season, was no big deal because if they would have played Mott in the second part of the season, Mott probably blew them out by 30pts. I am sorry that you think my comments are demeaning but I am merely pointing out the facts.

  3. fatman says:

    Didn’t GRCC beat LCC earlier in the year too? What was the problem losing three players at the end of the season? Injuries are tragic but part of the game. I have not followed the juco closely in the past couple of years but know how competitive it is and how hard all the teams work to be their best.

    • Jared Field says:

      Just so everyone is aware, I was not trying to clown GRCC as much as I was trying to compliment Oakland. That’s a top 10 team nationally and they don’t get to go to the national tournament because they are in the eastern conference. Obviously having the best teams at the national tournament is next to impossible since not all Districts are created equal

      • Freddie McCoy says:

        Fatman, I am not putting GRCC down, I was at both game for LCC v GRCC and GRCC blew them out by 30 the first game on LCC’s home court which was their only lost in the conference, LCC didn’t take GRCC serious that game but the last game of the Regular season, LCC took them out on their home court. Fatman, I know losing players to academic problem or injuries is part of the college game, I played and coached basketball, it is all about adjustment and planing when you lose a key player or players and try to win the game with what you got left. LCC beat Jackson with no problem twice during the regular season, Nate Duhon never recovered from his injury against Mott in the championship game the week before and was playing hurt in the district. Jared, Lansing played Oakland twice this season, both was close game but have to give the nod to Lansing against Oakland, I was at both game,the first game, Oakland barely beat Lansing by 4 pts, remember Duhon got hurt at the end the first half and did not play in the 2nd half, Duhon had 13pts in the first half but Oakland still couldn’t pull away from Lansing in the 2nd half without Duhon, If Duhon was not injured, Lansing would have won, The second game was a great game, Oakland was up by 18pts with 12 minutes left in the game but Duhon led an incredible comeback and caught Oakland at the end. Henry Ford is a good team too but faded in the end.

  4. fatman says:

    I appreciate the information and the way that you stated it without jumping me or my opinion. Like I said I have not followed the season and was curious regarding what you termed a tragic end. Good Luck to Mott and GRCC and I hope that CMU takes a long long look at Schmidt for their opening. They should have hired him not Zeigler five years ago.

    • Freddie McCoy says:

      That will be a great choice for CMU,a friend of mine, Ervin Leavy , one of their great players from the the glory days in the 80’s would love to see that hiring

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