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.