FLINT, Michigan — The game of the week in the MCCAA Wednesday night didn’t disappoint. The no. 3-ranked Stars, fresh off a win over no. 1-ranked Schoolcraft, needed a furious comeback in the game’s final two minutes to earn a 77-74 win.
The victory is Lansing’s second over Mott this season and the first home loss against Lansing since 2009. Lansing’s win over Mott last month was also by three points.
Lansing had not swept Mott in a season series since 2002.
“We just didn’t play well enough to win,” said Mott head coach Steve Schmidt. “We couldn’t overcome some obstacles; this team has to get a lot tougher.”
One of those obstacles, if the pointed words from Mott’s bench are any indication, was the free throw disparity in the game: 33-16 in favor of the Stars. Even so, it was the Bears’ lack of execution on the offensive end in the final minutes that cost them the game.
Mott (6-3), paced by freshman guard Diandre Wilson, led by a point at the half and by as many as 10 midway through the second half. Wilson scored from all over the court, leading all scorers with 28 points.
Once the Bears’ lead cracked double digits with 13 minutes left in the game, their overall play took a serious nosedive. In spite of several turnovers, a couple questionable calls and even more questionable shots, the Bears were still staked to a five point lead with two minutes left.
Two easy baskets for Lansing coupled with a terrible cross-court pass for a turnover and foul by Jalen Adams and the Bears’ lead was history. Mott only managed one basket, a putback off a desperation shot at the buzzer by Mitchell Rubio, in the final two minutes. Lansing went 6-for-6 from the foul line during that span.
Adams, a D-1 transfer from St. Bonaventure, had his worst game as a Bear Wednesday night. He scored eight points (two in the second half) and didn’t appear to be heavily invested in a positive outcome in the game.
Mott head coach Steve Schmidt, seething after a tough loss, went off script.
“We simply didn’t get enough out of Jalen Adams tonight,” he said. “I don’t typically call out players, but I don’t even like his body language.”
Just in terms of sheer talent, Adams probably should be Mott’s best offensive player. He’s a 6-foot-5 guard with all the physical tools. That he’s not their best is drawing the ire of his coach because, at least on the surface, it appears effort is all that’s standing in his way.
All signs pointed to this game being a banner win for the Bears. For the second time this season, Mott held Javon Haines to well below his average (29). Haines scored 12 points but only managed one basket thanks, in large part, to the play of freshman Cedric Moten and sophomore Lorenzo Collier.
This outcome is eerily similar to the first go around in Lansing (12-1). The Bears held Haines in check but simply couldn’t defend the post against Jimmy Kodet and Isaiah Green. The pair combined for 33 points. Mott, once again, made Kodet look like Dirk Nowitzki.
All is not lost, however. The Bears have taken the best JUCO team in the state to the wall now twice. They just need to learn how to finish.
Before the game, Schmidt echoed a familiar refrain: “This team will figure it out; this will be a good team.”
Six of Mott’s next seven games are on the road, including a bruiser against Muskegon on Saturday afternoon. The Bears’ next home game is December 30 against Marygrove College JV.
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