ACC men stay close with?Oakland in first half but fall 82-45



News Sports Editor

For most of the first half against No. 15 Oakland on Saturday, the Alpena Community College men’s basketball team matched up well with one of the country’s top teams.

Once the Raiders put the pedal down however, there was no looking back as Oakland trounced the Lumberjacks 82-45 at Park Arena.

Kallante Miller led Oakland (16-4, MCCAA Eastern) with 14 points and was one of three Raiders in double figures. Aaron Hayes had 11 points and Darius Stevens added 10.

A pair of free throws by Justin MacGregor cut Oakland’s lead down to four, 23-19, with 5:11 to play in the first half, but the game belonged to the Raiders from there.

“You can slow them down with defense. We were standing around robots,” McCourt said. “When you play zone, if you match up, you frustrate them. It frustrated them the whole first half.”

Oakland ended the first half on a 16-0 run and didn’t slow down once the second half began. The Raiders’ speed and athleticism proved too much for ACC (5-15, 2-8 MCCAA Eastern), which found itself rushing too much on offense and committed 26 turnovers to Oakland’s 11.

The Raiders weren’t afraid to drive the ball inside and drew lots of contact. Oakland went 18-for-29 at the charity stripe compared to just 7-of-14 for the Lumberjacks.

One bright spot for the Lumberjacks was the play of several bench players including Jake Strong and MacGregor. Strong led all ACC scorers with nine points.

“Jake Strong did a great job, played a good game,” McCourt said.

Already down by a sizable margin at halftime, ACC struggled to knock down shots. Oakland outrebounded the Lumberjacks 52-44 and rarely allowed ACC second chances. For every ACC basket made, Oakland answered with three or four of its own. The Lumberjacks shot just 26 percent from the field and had too many small scoreless stretches that allowed the Raiders to pull further ahead.

McCourt lamented his team’s lack of defense in the second half, noting that the Lumberjacks got away from playing effective zone defense which held Oakland in check in the first half.

“We’ve gotta play tough and we still haven’t learned how to do that. If you can’t play tough, you can’t win in this league,” McCourt said.

ACC will host St. Clair tonight at 7:30 p.m.

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OAKLAND (82): Hayes 2 7-8 11; Pearson 3 0-0 7; Miller 6 2-7 14; Chappell 1 3-4 5; Martin 3 0-0 6; Robinson 2 1-2 5; Eubanks 2 0-0 5; Stevens 3 4-6 10; Wallace 4 0-0 8; Racicot 2 0-0 4; Wade 1 1-2 3.

ALPENA (45): Dailey 1 3-4 5; Gates 3 0-1 8; Smith 3 0-0 6; Hentkowski 2 1-4 7; Wickert 2 0-1 4; Lamp 2 0-0 4; MacGregor 0 2-2 2; Strong 4 1-2 9.