On Saturday afternoon, the Delta College men's basketball team traveled down to Macomb to face off with the Macomb Community College Monarchs. Both teams came into the game sitting in the middle of the pack of the MCCAA Eastern Conference and both were looking to climb up in the standings.
The Pioneers started the game off clicking on all cylinders and baskets by Deon Gray and Martel Handley gave the visiting team a 15-9 lead. The Monarchs countered with a 7-0 run themselves and reclaimed the lead 16-15 with twelve minutes remaining in the half. A Martel Handley steal and dunk fueled a Pioneer run and at the five-minute mark they went up nine points, 32-23. Macomb would end the half strong and finish with an 18-8 run giving them a 41-40 lead heading into the locker room.
The Monarchs came out of the locker room and scored the first five points of the second half and built their lead up to 46-40. The Pioneers would respond with an 8-2 run and following a Cedric Moten lay-up a tip-in by Virgil Walker Jr. tied the game up 48-48 with fifteen minutes left in the game. The game would go back and forth until Cedric Moten scored on six straight possessions and the Delta lead was 68-64 with ten minutes left to play. Two beautiful passes by Torandis Mack found Martel Handley for lay-ups and the Pioneer lead was 78-75 with 4:50 on the game clock. The remainder of the game, the Pioneers would struggle on the offensive end and only manage to convert one more basket. With thirty seconds, Martel Handley scored the lone field goal and tied the game back up 80-80. Macomb held onto the ball for the last shot and when a Monarch drove to the lane a foul was called with two seconds left. After the foul was called, Delta was assessed a technical foul. Macomb would go on to make three out of four free throws and secure an 83-80 victory.
On the afternoon, the Pioneers dominated the Monarchs in the paint by outscoring them 60-38. The Pioneers also held the field goal and percentage margin going (34-69, 49%) from the floor compared to the Monarchs (31-66, 47%). The difference in the game was that Macomb hit six more three pointers (7-14) than Delta (1-9). The Monarchs also held the free throw margin making 14-18 (78%) from the line compared to the Pioneers 11-17 (65%).
"This loss is really frustrating," said Head Coach Carlos McMath. "We dominated in areas of the stat sheet and still didn't get it done. We need to limit the scoring droughts and move the basketball. Everyone needs to get involved in the offensive execution and we need to knock down free throws."
For the game, the Pioneers had five guys reach double figures in scoring. Leading the way was Martel Handley with 22 points. Torandis Mack had 14 points and 4 assists. To go along with his 13 points, Virgil Walker Jr., had a monster game on the glass ripping down 20 rebounds. Cedric Moten had 12 points, all of them coming in the second half. Justin Person added 11 points.
The Pioneers (11-4, 3-4) will host Alpena Community College on Wednesday night. The Lumberjacks (1-14, 0-7) are coming into the matchup looking for their first league win. Game time is 7:30 from Pioneer Gymnasium.