By Ron Rop
Local Sports Journal
Muskegon Community College men’s basketball coach Dave Schlump was just happy to escape Bartels-Rode Gymnasium with a victory on Wednesday night.
After an emotional and narrow defeat on Monday at Lansing, the Jayhawks were able to get back on the winning track with a 54-50 victory over Lake Michigan College.
“We did get the ‘W’,” Schlump said. “I think we were we ready to play tonight, but I think mentally and physically tired from that game. And it showed. We did some things uncharacteristic.”
Missing free throws was a concern, but when it came right down to the final minute, the Jayhawks were able to convert and keep the Red Hawks at bay.
“I’ve seen those guys make free throws, they know they can make them,” Schlump said.
With the game on the line, MCC made 7-of-10 and that included the final four by Jalin Gross, who finished with 11 points.
Muskegon built an eight-point lead at the half, but once the second half started, the visitors started creeping back. And when Lake Michigan’s Melvin Brown hit two free throws with 3:18 left, the comeback was complete and the game hung in the balance until the final seconds.
With the game tied at 47-all, MCC’s Delvon Brown scored to make it 49-47, then T.J. Grant split a pair of free throws to make it 50-47with 23 seconds left. Gross made two free throws with 8.8 seconds left and two more with 2.4 seconds left. The last two put the game out of reach since Lake Michigan’s Roy Napier had canned a long 3 with 3.1 seconds left to make it a one-possession game.
“I thought Delvon Brown had a couple big hoops there,” Schlump said. “I’m sure he would like to have more than that and Kenya (Oas) hit a big 3 when we needed it.”
Brown finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds and Gross had 11 points. Devaughn Cole-Rodney finished with eight points and 11 rebounds.
MCC had a rough night shooting with 17-for-58 for 29 percent. Lake Michigan was a bit better at 19-for-55.
Johnson led the Red Hawks with 15 points and Brown added 14. T.J. Scott had 10 rebounds and seven points.
MCC’s three-game week will conclude on Saturday at Kalamazoo Valley. Game time is 3 p.m.