University Center, MI-
The Delta College men's basketball team came into Wednesday night's game against the Alpena Community College Lumberjacks without the services of big man Peyton Miller for the second straight game and with several key players missing practice all week while battling the flu bug. After having several close conference losses, the Lumberjacks came into the game determined to get their first conference victory. The Pioneers would have to get contributions from every healthy man on the roster if they wanted to pull out the victory over the fearless Alpena squad.
Evan Anderson got the Pioneers going to start the game by scoring six out of the first eight points. Deon Gray followed up with four straight points and the Pioneers opened up a 12-4 lead. The Lumberjacks started to heat up from the outside and at the ten minute mark of the first half took the lead 20-18. Over the course of the next three minutes, Alpena would continue to knock down shots and expanded their lead to nine, 27-18. The Pioneers would end the half on a 17-9 run and head to the locker room down one, 36-35.
The second half went back and forth with the lead exchanging hands on twelve different occasions. With thirty seconds remaining and the Pioneers down 74-72, Justin Person found Jordan Martinus for a corner three pointer and the Delta men would retake the lead 75-74. On the ensuing possession, a steal by Cedric Moten and two free throws by Justin Person put the Pioneers up 77-74. With four seconds remaining a three pointer by the Lumberjacks tied the game back up at 77-77 and the teams headed to overtime.
In the overtime period, the Pioneers stepped up their defensive pressure and held the Lumberjacks scoreless. A three pointer by Jordan Martinus put the Pioneers up for good, 81-77. After knocking down some clutch free throws the Pioneers prevailed with an 85-77 victory.
"You have to give a lot of credit to Alpena," said Head Coach Carlos McMath. "They are a tough team and their record doesn't reflect the scrappiness and talent they have. They gave us all we could handle tonight and we were fortunate enough to get out of here with a victory."
Leading the way for the Pioneers was Martel Handley with 24 points. Cedric Moten added 13 points and 8 rebounds. Jordan Martinus had 10 points including two clutch three pointers to help the Pioneers secure the victory. Devonte Allen added a spark off the bench with several key offensive rebounds and scoring 8 points.
"At the midway point of the conference season we need to evaluate where we are at, make adjustments and move forward," said McMath. "We know how good we can be and the championship brand of basketball we can play with. Now we just need to put it all together and do it on a consistent basis."
The Pioneers (12-4, 4-4) will host Wayne County on Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats (8-7, 3-5) are coming off a victory over Mott Community College and a tough overtime loss to Schoolcraft Community College. The first meeting between the Pioneers and Wildcats was a physical battle in which the Pioneers prevailed 83-75. Saturday's game will be at 3:00. The game will take place in Pioneer Gymnasium and will feature Delta College homecoming activities. Following the game there will be a high school showcase with three games featuring teams from Detroit, Chicago, Midland, and Bridgeport. Come on out and enjoy a day filled with great basketball.