Third ranked mens basketball team keeps up impressive effort
BY BRYAN ZAZAIAN AND NICK MISIAK
STAFF WRITER AND SPORTS EDITOR
The Schoolcraft Mens Basketball team, now ranked third in the nation, extended their season high winning streak to eight and got a little revenge with an 80-64 victory over Macomb Community College on Jan. 31.
Macomb handed Schoolcraft their only conference loss on Jan. 3, in a 91- 81 win highlighted by Schoolcraft’s sloppy play.
The win improved the Ocelots record to 19-3 (8-1 conference) and propelled them into first place in the MCCAA Eastern Conference. Macomb dropped to 10-10 (4-5 conference).
Freshman guard Ronald Booth shot 57 percent from the floor for 27 points. Sophomore forward Javon Thomas had 14 points and nine rebounds in his team high 35 minutes on the court to lead the Ocelots offensively. Freshman forward Marcus Williams added eight points and four rebounds.
Macomb came out of the gate strong, while the Ocelots struggled to find their shot. An 11-3 run gave Macomb an early eight-point lead before Schoolcraft began playing their game. Macomb rode a 36-31 lead into the half.
“I thought we were very sloppy defensively and that we were not making the best decisions when we had the ball,” said Head Coach Abe Mashhour. “I gave the boys a little rally call during half time, and they responded nicely. We looked much better on both sides of the ball.”
Schoolcraft scored 49 points in the second half, after pushing Macomb into foul trouble and dominated the flow of the game. Booth hit nine of 11 free throws in the half.
OCELOTS ROUT ST. CLAIR COUNTY
The Ocelots had control of the game from start to finish, as Schoolcraft cruised to an 87-52 victory over the Fighting Knights on Wednesday, Jan. 28, in Livonia.
The game opened with a bang, as the Ocelots began in attack-mode from opening tip. Quickly surging to a 7-0 lead, Schoolcraft controlled the tempo on both sides of the floor. The lead ballooned to 17 behind a 3-pointer from freshman forward Marcus Williams with 5:50 remaining in the opening session. The team shot a scorching 52 percent from the field in the first half and enjoyed an 18-point cushion heading into intermission.
Schoolcraft’s first-half effort was paced by forward James Pruitt. The freshman made his mark with 10 points, 4 rebounds and several tremendous defensive plays.
Schoolcraft dominated the contest on both sides of the floor, but it was the Ocelot’s defensive effort that made an imprint. Schoolcraft held St. Clair County to a paltry 28 percent shooting night from the field and forced 17 turnovers, turning them into 18 points. The Ocelots also recorded four blocked shots, including an emphatic chase-down rejection by Pruitt on a layup attempt from St. Clair County freshman Freddy Cook early in the second half.
The Fighting Knights struggled all night to muster up points against the swarming Schoolcraft defense, and it was something that Mashhour certainly appreciated.
“We made [St. Clair County] earn all their shots defensively,” said Mashhour. “We did a nice job of playing strong defensively together as a unit.”
The high-percentage shooting and crisp ball movement was only part of the story. Ten of the total 11 players on the roster could find their names in the scoring column. Forward Javan Thomas, one of five Schoolcraft players to eclipse double-digit scoring, was a major factor in Schoolcraft’s offensive attack. The sophomore finished the contest with 12 points and 3 assists.
“I play hard every possession and try to be a leader out there,” said Thomas. “We just try to find each other out there, and we try not to be selfish. [We’re] like brothers out there.”
Schoolcraft continues its dominant season on Wednesday, Feb. 11, when they play at Oakland Community College before returning home for a Valentine’s Day showdown against Henry Ford Community College on Saturday, Feb. 14, at 3 p.m. The Ocelots defeated OCC 80-75 on