On January 17th, the Delta College men's basketball team lost a tough game to the Schoolcraft Ocelots 84-81. Saturday afternoon they would travel to Livonia and look to even the score and push towards the top three spots in the MCCAA Eastern Conference standings. With four games remaining in the league schedule a road victory would help the Pioneers get closer to securing home court for the first round of the playoffs.
The Ocelots began the game on fire making four out of their first five three-point field goal attempts and at the twelve-minute mark had a 16-7 lead over the Pioneers. The Pioneer's Martel Handley would answer back with five straight points and with less than ten minutes to go in the half, it was a four point game, 16-12. Schoolcraft would dominate the next six minutes and expand their lead to 31-18. Back to back Justin Person three pointers and a Torandis Mack bucket fueled a 13-0 run for the Pioneers and tied the game up 31-31. Schoolcraft would score the last nine points of the half and take a 40-31 lead into the locker room.
The Ocelots came out of halftime and expanded their lead to fourteen points, 51-37. At the twelve- minute mark, still down fifteen points, the Pioneer's Jalen Fykes took a charge and flipped the momentum in favor of the Delta men. A Justin Person three pointer followed up by four straight points by Peyton Miller fueled a 13-0 run and the brought the Pioneers within two points, 60-58. The Ocelots would build their lead back up to nine points, 71-62, with one-minute remaining. A Martel Handley three-point play and a Justin Person three-point basket got the Pioneers within three but they wouldn't be able to get any closer and the Ocelots prevailed 73-70.
"We didn't play a complete game today," said Head Coach Carlos McMath. "We played really tough at times but you must play a complete forty minutes if you want to win in this league."
The Pioneers were led by Martel Handley's 20 points and 13 rebounds. Justin Person added 19 points and Cedric Moten had 10 points. Virgil Walker Jr. added 12 rebounds and 3 blocks. Peyton Miller had 9 rebounds.
"We have three regular season games remaining and we have the opportunity to make that final push towards the top," said McMath. "We know what we are capable of doing so we need to find a way to make it happen."
The Pioneers (15-6, 7-6) will travel to St. Clair County Community College (15-10, 5-8) on Saturday afternoon. The Pioneers are currently in fourth place in the MCCAA Eastern Conference. The Skippers are in seventh place, a half a game ahead of Mott Community College for the last playoff position. Game time is set for 3:00 pm.