On Wednesday evening, the Delta College men's basketball team was looking to bounce back after a tough last second loss to Macomb Community College. The task wouldn't be easy as they would have to travel to Schoolcraft and face the 3rd ranked team in the nation. The Pioneers, ranked 9th in the national polls, and the Ocelots had three games last season that were decided by less than a combined 11 points. This top ten match-up would prove to be another tight battle.
The Pioneers would set the tone early and when Aaron Collins found Evan Anderson for a dunk, the visiting team held a 14-8 lead. A Goliath Mitchell drive and a Trey Newsham fast break lay-in gave the Pioneers their largest lead of the night 20-11 with twelve minutes left in the half. The Ocelots would go on a run of their own and get as close as two points with five minutes to play. A Trey Newsham three point basket with 15 seconds left in the half sent the Pioneers to the locker room with a 43-38 lead.
Schoolcraft came out of the locker room hitting on all cylinders and an 11-2 run gave them a 49-45 lead with 16:30 left in the game. The Pioneers, Brandon Brackett, scored on back to back possessions and with less than ten minutes remaining the Delta men were down 53-51. Over the next seven minutes, the Pioneers would go cold from the floor and the Ocelots would take advantage. With three minutes remaining, the Pioneers would trail 79-65. The Delta men would battle back and with thirty seconds left a Peyton Miller basket and the foul capped off an 11-2 run and the score was 81-76. The Ocelots would make some clutch free throws down the stretch to preserve a 85-78 victory.
"I felt both teams played very hard tonight," said Head Coach Carlos McMath. "It was a game of runs and we definitely had our chances to get the win, we just didn't execute when it mattered the most. We need to continue to value each possession."
Goliath Mitchell led all scorers with 32 points. Mitchell also added 9 rebounds and 3 steals. Peyton Miller had a career high 24 points. Trey Newsham added 13 points and Evan Anderson had 7 rebounds and 4 blocks.
"Due to injuries and some unforeseen circumstances, we are playing with a limited number of guys than we are used to. The guys that we have are getting extended minutes and they need to continue to step up," said McMath. "Until we get back to full strength, guys need to continue to buy in and maximize their efficiency while they are out on the court."
The Pioneers (9-2, 0-2) will host the Wayne County Wildcats Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats (4-9, 0-3) are coming off a tough loss to Macomb Community College. Both teams will be looking to secure their first league victories of the season. Game time is set for 3:00 at Pioneer Gymnasium.