No. 1-ranked Mott Community College (32-1) played the most miserable 20 minutes of basketball I’ve seen in quite some time. Luckily the Bears have a hall of fame coach who knows all the right buttons to push in between the first and second acts.
Steve Schmidt’s team, down nine at the half, ran over and around Danville CC to win going away, 76-59. It was sweet redemption for Schmidt, who certainly had some reservations about playing the host team in round one in front of a sellout crowd.
Mott sophomore John Taylor put on a show early in the second half, hushing the crowd with a pair of deep 3-pointers to help his team wrestle away the lead just six minutes into the half. Taylor had 26 points to lead all scorers and was dubbed “Superman” by one of the courtside television analysts.
From that point it was all about Mott’s trademark intensity on both ends of the floor; and, as always, that charge was led by Ralph Eason. The freshman guard was as close to perfect as any one player can be. Eason scored 21 points (10-for-10 from the floor) with five rebounds, five assists and two steals.
In an interview after the game, Schmidt used Eason’s performance as evidence that these Bears aren’t a one-man team. Need more proof? The Bears, as a team, shot better than 80 percent from the floor in the second half. In all the years I’ve covered basketball, I cannot recall ever seeing a team reach that number.
Mott will take on Louisburg College on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. (eastern) in the Elite Eight.