By Sean Chase
The Grand Rapids Community College men’s basketball team’s record falls to 2-2 after losing against nationally ranked Mott Community College on March 3, 80-53.
“At the end of the day, regardless of the situation, you just have to keep your composure, I think that was the big takeaway from the night,” said Jeff Bauer, head coach of the GRCC men’s basketball team. “We didn’t mentally respond to a physical, tough environment which we need to do better at.”
After winning the opening tip-off the Raiders took control jumping out to a lead in the early minutes of the first half, as sophomore Isaac Anderson, who got his first start for the Raiders, passed the ball to freshman Azyah Brown under the rim for the score.
“(Anderson’s) been playing really well, he’s a good floor general for us,” Bauer said. “You know, just his ability to rise up to big games has been important, something that would give us a little spark to start the game.”
Mott tried to respond, but GRCC sophomore Malik Clincy was able to convert a layup through contact, and make the subsequent free-throw to extend the Raider lead to five. The Bears finally found their offense and pushed ahead of the Raiders by one point, 6-5.
GRCC was able to regain the lead as sophomore Darien Banks was fouled and sent to the line, where he hit two free-throws. However, this was the last time that the Raiders would lead in the contest, as Mott’s defense turned up the intensity switching to a press scheme, resulting in a 14-point lead with eight minutes left in the first half.
The Raiders were able to cut the lead to single digits, but when the teams headed to the locker room for half-time Mott had a 12-point lead, 39-27.
“I don’t think their press was an issue, I think their physical defense was and we just didn’t respond,” Bauer said when asked about the Bears’ defense after the game. “We got kinda nervous, we got a little soft with the ball, which affected our mentality I thought. We just kind of lost our composure for too many long periods of time and dug ourselves a hole we couldn’t dig out of.”
Once the second half began, Mott again took control of the game. As the Bears’ lead began to grow things further fell apart for the Raiders. After a two-hand dunk on the fast-break Clincy was assessed a technical foul for hanging on the rim, his first of the game. A few moments later, with 15 minutes left in the game, Clincy was given a second technical foul and ejected from the contest.
Bauer’s squad tried, once again, to make a run on the Bears, but what was a 15-point lead grew to 27 as the final seconds ticked off the clock with Mott winning 80-53.
Savieon Williams, a Mott freshman, came off the bench to lead all scorers in the contest with 18 points.
Anderson led GRCC in scoring with nine points, seven rebounds, three steals and two assists. The Raiders also received contributions from Clincy (nine points, five rebounds and two assists), Banks (seven points and two rebounds), sophomore Richard Major (seven points, three assists and two rebounds), Brown (six points, six rebounds and one block), freshman Dasani Darnell (two points and four rebounds) and sophomore D’Avery Moore (six points and three rebounds).
Next the Raiders will head to Centreville, Michigan to face-off against the Vikings of Glen Oaks Community College on Friday, March 5, at 7:30 p.m. The game will be live-streamed on the Glen Oaks CC Youtube channel.
“We’ve gotta get ourselves right, it’s not really about them,” Bauer said, when asked about the upcoming game. “They’re a team that’s struggling, but at the same time, they’ve been in every game. So it’s all about us getting our sight right, correct and back. Just playing a little tougher, executing the job at hand, instead of worrying about external things we can’t control.”