ACC men falter late against Monarchs

The Alpena Community College men’s basketball team had the chance to snap its two-game losing streak on Wednesday when it went on a 17-point run against Macomb late in the second half to narrow Macomb’s lead to 74-72.

However, it couldn’t quite tie the bow around the win in a 86-76 loss.

“For six minutes we played really, really well and got a full lineup in there. We got to play like that for 40 minutes,” ACC coach Frank McCourt said.

The Lumberjacks (5-18, 3-12 Eastern Conference) held a 5-0 lead in the first minute of the game, but was behind nearly the entire game. It fell behind 74-57 with 4:18 left in the second half and seemed on the cusp of a big defeat.

However, ACC and especially Travon Howard had different plans.

Howard scored five points during ACC’s 17-point run and contributed strong man-to-man defense against the Monarchs.

He and Kharri Dailey kept disrupting Monarch offensive routes, picking up steals and setting up successful ACC plays.

Howard led ACC with 20 points while Dailey had 16.

A trey by Logan Wickert narrowed Macomb’s lead to 74-69 while Scott Hicks picked up three points to bring ACC to a 74-72 spread with just under two minutes to go.

Macomb’s coach called a time out and talked to his players. Whatever he discussed seemed to work as Lumberjacks scoring run dried up and the Monarchs went on an eight-point run of their own.

The Lumberjacks had to resort to fouling to get the ball back in the last two minutes of the game. It was a sound strategy as the Monarchs hit only 16-of-29 from the line.

However, the Lumberjacks struggled to hit their own baskets and missed several close three point chances to clinch the loss.

ACC was plagued by poor shooting throughout the first and most of the second half. It kept about three points away from Macomb for most of the first half, but an eight point run late in the first gave the Monarchs a 29-21 lead.

The Lumberjacks didn’t score a field goal for the last nine minutes of the first half in spite of several close shots by Stephen Shepherd. It picked up six points off free throws as Macomb pulled to a 39-26 lead at the half.

The Lumberjacks also struggled on the boards, picking up only 35 rebounds while the Monarchs grabbed 53. The Monarchs were able to convert several missed shots into second and third chance scoring opportunities.

In the end, in spite of consistent play from its younger players, ACC couldn’t seal the deal.

“The first half we just stood around. The young guys are pretty good, though. We have to keep them playing hard like that for a whole game,” McCourt said.

ACC travels to Wayne County Community College on Saturday.

MACOMB (86): L. McKnight 4 2-3 11; B. Hicks 5 7-11 17; G. Maples 6 2-4 15; D. Johnson 8 4-6 20; L. Merrick 3 0-4 6; D. Brown 2 0-0 4; K. Barnette 1 0-0 2; M. Carlisle 4 1-1 11.

ACC (76): T. Howard 7 5-7 20; K. Dailey 5 5-6 16; W. Gates 3 2-2 9; S. Hicks 3 5-6 12; S. Shepard 2 2-7 6; L. Wickert 3 0-0 9; R. Anderson 1 0-0 2; C. Lamp 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.