FLINT, Michigan — The only show in town on Thursday night was a great one. With schools across Genesee County closed on Thursday and Friday, scores of basketball fans turned out to watch no. 4-ranked Mott avenge the only blemish on its record. Mott beat Owens 76-68 to improve to 9-1 on the season and 6-0 at home.
The Bears sprinted out to a 16-0 run to start the game, holding the Express scoreless for the game’s first five and a half minutes. Owens fought back with its three-headed monster offensively, sophomores James Kelly, Justin Edmonds and freshman point guard Joe Retic II. The Express answered with a 20-6 run and pulled even at the half.
The Express actually led for a short period of time early in the second half before Mott gradually accrued an eight-point lead which it held, more or less, for the duration of the second half.
The key to the second half resurgence for Mott was the play of 6-7 sophomore Fred Mattison, who scored the bulk of his team-high 19 points in the second half. Mattison lives on the lob, and Owens was powerless to stop it in the second half. Mattison wasn’t alone, however, as Mott had five players in double-figures. Devin Foster and Kory Billups scored 12 points apiece with Chavis Mattison and Chester McFadden adding 11 each.
Foster is finally starting to show the skills that prompted Coach Schmidt to pluck him out of the Windy City this summer. Foster added seven rebounds, four assists and three steals to his 12 points. As his aggression continues to increase, so will his production. He’s a player.
Both teams shot 50 percent from the field. The game was won on the strength of 21 forced forced turnovers by Mott. Edmonds, who finished with 13 points and zero assists, was the worst offender with six turnovers for Owens.
For the second straight games between the two teams, it was Retic II who proved to be the best player in red. The freshman scored 19 points on 11 shots with three assists. He’s an intriguing prospect to be sure.
The win was the second consecutive game Mott played without its center, 6-foot-9 freshman Coreante DeBerry. The University of Detroit Mercy recruit is still sidelined because of academic issues. UDM’s head coach Ray McCallum was in the crowd tonight, as was Michigan State assistant Dane Fife.
Mott will return to action at 3 p.m. on Dec. 29th at home versus Daley College (Illinois).