Ocelots nip ACC in OT

The Alpena Community College men’s basketball team held a 73-70 lead over Schoolcraft with four seconds left on Wednesday, but a buzzer bank trey by Michael Harvey took it into overtime, where the Ocelots won 88-84.

“We didn’t play well enough to win. That’s the key,” ACC coach Frank McCourt said.

This loss was particularly disappointing as ACC (5-16, 3-10 Eastern Conference) had fought so hard to get and maintain a solid lead throughout the second half, staying within two or three points of Schoolcraft throughout the half.

ACC finally pulled into a solid 67-65 lead after a trey from Travon Howard with 1:16 left in the half. Logan Wickert hit a bucket 40 seconds later to give the Lumberjacks a 69-65 lead with 23.2 left to play.

Howard led ACC with 37 points.

A pair of free throws by Howard with 12.7 seconds left gave ACC a 71-67 lead. Schoolcraft picked up two treys in the last five seconds. The Ocelots broke into cheers as ACC looked visibly defeated.

The score stayed tight in overtime until the Ocelots hit three free throws halfway through the extra period. This gave them an 80-75 lead that it extended to 82-75 a short time later.

Campbell led Schoolcraft with 30 points.

The Lumberjacks surged late in the period under the scoring touch of Howard and the on-court dynamics of Kharri Dailey. Dailey didn’t score in overtime, but picked up 17 points in regulation.

A trey by Howard with 21.4 seconds left narrowed Schoolcraft’s lead to 85-84, but a bucket and free throw by Terrence Coles with 15 seconds left sealed the deal at 88-84.

The Lumberjacks utilized tight man-to-man defense throughout the game to shut down the Ocelots’ offense. ACC struggled under the boards, picking up 51 rebounds compared to Schoolcraft’s 67.

ACC picked up 17 points out of 23 attempts at the free throw line. The Ocelots may have picked up 19 points, but took 40 shots at the line. As a result, the Lumberjacks often fouled the Ocelots rather than let them score to keep the game close.

In fact, the Lumberjacks had to stage a comeback in the first half to keep it so close. ACC was behind by as much as 21-15 with 9:25 left to play. However, it outscored the Ocelots 19-10 the rest of the way to take a 34-31 lead into the second half.

ACC surged thanks to the sustained scoring attack of Howard and treys from Dailey and William Gates. It utilized strong team based play and a quick pass attack that often took the Ocelots by surprise.

However, strong defensive positioning and accurate shooting by Schoolcraft players like Andrew Mapley and Michael Harvey helped keep the Ocelots close enough to take control over the game off a miracle last minute trey.

“You can say that they got a last second lucky shot to take it to overtime. But that wasn’t what sent it to overtime. What sent it to overtime was that we didn’t play well enough to win,” McCourt said.

ACC travels to Henry Ford on Saturday.

SCHOOLCRAFT (88):T. Sewell 2 1-1 5; J. Campbell 8 14-23 30; A. Mapley 2 2-4 8; N. Kamal 1 0-0 2; T. Coles 12 1-7 25; M. Harvey 8 1-1 18.

ACC (84): T. Howard 11 10-12 37; K. Dailey 6 4-4 17; W. Gates 2 0-0 6; E. Thompson 3 0-2 6; S. Hicks 4 2-2 11; L. Wickert 2 1-2 5; S. Shepard 1 0-0 2.

Eric Benac can be reached via email at ebenac@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.