The Alpena Community College men's basketball team's second game against Sault College didn't end with any last minute heroics like Friday's win.
It didn't need to: the Lumberjacks routed the Cougars 83-46 in a complete turnaround from Friday's nail-biting 65-62 victory.
"We finally started playing basketball. This is the game we've been looking for all season. They played like a team the whole game," ACC coach Frank McCourt said.
News Photo by Eric Benac
Alpena’s William Gates Jr. (10) dribbles past Sault’s Javier Stephenson during the first half of a men’s basketball game on Saturday at Park Arena.
The first six minutes of the game completely belonged to the Lumberjacks (2-5) as they took a 16-0 lead.
Logan Wickert got things rolling with a trey and from there, Kiyon Push piled on six points to give Alpena a commanding lead. By the time the Cougars finally scored, seven minutes had passed.
The next time Sault scored a minute and a half later, ACC had a 21-4 lead.
The Cougars' didn't pull together in the same way it did in the second half of Friday night's game. Kojo Afari scored 11 of 18 points for the Cougars in the first half.
The Lumberjacks spread the ball around more evenly, with eight players scoring. ACC also hit four threes in the first half.
ACC led 30-5 with 9:25 left to play in the half. The Cougars were able to narrow the spread a little, but the Lumberjacks pulled to a 41-18 lead at halftime.
The Lumberjacks held the halftime lead on Friday, but barely fought off a comeback.
That wasn't a problem for Saturday's game.
"I told them (at the half) that we had a lead like this last night and that we almost blew it. I told them to keep their heads in the game and play hard. Our defense really stepped up for the night," McCourt said.
ACC also cut down on fouls, allowing just 15 Sault free throws attempts on Saturday.
The Lumberjacks started strong in the second half, scoring 10 unanswered points in four minutes.
The Cougars main scoring threat in the second half was Aaron Brown, who scored 15 points and was 8-of-11 on free throws.
ACC's defense continued to shut down Sault scoring opportunities by snagging defensive rebounds. The Lumberjacks also snagged a majority of its offensive rebounds for second and third scoring chances.
By the time Ray'Shon Anderson hit back-to-back threes with a 1:36 and 52 seconds to play, there was no chance the Cougars could come back from a 37-point deficit.
"This was a great win for us. Winning on the weekend like this is important for team chemistry. They're starting to figure out how to play together as a team," McCourt said.
ACC hosts Muskegon at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.
ALPENA (83): L. Wickert 2-2-3-8; W. Gates 3-0-0-6; K. Bush 6-3-3-15; E. Thompson 2-3-4-7; J. Jones 1-0-0-3; T. Howards 5-0-0-10; R. Anderson 2-0-0-6; C. Lamps 1-0-0-2; S. Hicks III 6-0-0-13; D. Ivery 1-0-2-3; S. Shepard 4-0-0-8; T. Pigg 1-0-0-2.
SAULT (46): I. Cunanan 1-0-0-3; J. Stephenson 1-0-0-2; A. Brown 6-7-11-19; K. Afari 9-2-4-20; J. Lonigro 1-0-0-2.
Eric Benac can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.