FLINT, Michigan — It would be hard to envision a better opening night for the 2016-17 Mott Community College Bears. Head coach Steve Schmidt’s 26th season in Flint started off on a high note, as the Bears overpowered Grand Rapids, 97-78.
Mott sophomore Diandre Wilson, who led the team in scoring last season (20 ppg), didn’t take long to prove that he’s one of the top JUCO guards in the country. Wilson scored inside and out for the Bears, including a couple elite finishes at the basket, en route to a game-high 36 points (17-for-22 from the foul line).
Freshman Shawn Pardee, who a little over a year ago was lighting up the Tri Valley Conference, scored 18 points in his debut. Pardee is a poor man’s Brad Redford, and that’s a caliber of outside shooter Mott hasn’t had in many years. He’s going to make it awfully hard on teams to play zone on the Bears. Certainly the TVC is not the Detroit PSL, but the kid twice scored 50-plus points in a game. He’s sneaky athletic, too.
Another freshman, Marcus Cole, scored 14 points including four dunks. The play of the game came midway through the first half on a fast break alley oop from Pardee to Cole. He slammed it home in traffic and the Field House went exploded . Mott led by 12 at that point and maintained that lead to halftime.
Grand Rapids cut the lead to as little as seven in the second half, but Wilson and the Bears came roaring back. After Cole’s fourth slam, the Bears led by 17 and rode the foul line to the final buzzer.
The Raiders (0-1) have some size (including a 6-7, 272-pound behemoth, Maxwell Pendergast) and a couple of quick guards from East Kentwood (Arthur Pearson and Jeffrey Drake-Todd), but they couldn’t keep Mott away from the basket on either end of the floor. Their guard tandem combined for more than half of the team’s points (41).
The Bears (1-0) shot 52 percent from the field and had three players (Wilson, Cole and Sidney Mason) with seven or more rebounds. That’s a welcome sign for Mott, a team that struggled at times last season on the glass.
The Bears will hit the road for two games in the Chicago area this weekend against McHenry on Friday night (6 p.m. eastern) and Triton on Saturday (4 p.m. eastern). Triton is ranked no. 2 in the NJCAA national poll after finishing runner-up last season in the national tournament. Both games will be streamed live on the Michigan Regional Sports Network at MRSN.us.
|1||Dedrick Shannon||6-0||175||SO||G||Chicago, IL|
|2||Austin Walker||5-10||165||FR||G||Anderson, SC|
|4||Marcus Cole||6-4||190||FR||G/F||Chicago, IL|
|5||Robert McCalley||6-4||205||SO||F||Chicago, IL|
|10||Sidney Mason||6-4||200||FR||G/F||Chicago, IL|
|11||Diandre Wilson||6-2||170||SO||G||Ft. Lauderdale, FL|
|12||Shawn Pardee||5-10||150||FR||G||Millington, MI|
|21||Deon Palmer||6-7||210||FR||F||Fort Wayne, IN|
|22||Louis Taborn||6-4||195||FR||F||Davison, MI|
|24||Darwin Weis||5-8||150||FR||G||Detroit, MI|
|33||Sean Corcoran||6-6||195||SO||F||Flint, MI|