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The shots don’t fall

Offensive lulls continue to hurt Lumberjacks in loss to Mid Michigan

News Photo by Jonny Zawacki Alpena Community College forward Logan Guenther (3) attempts a hook shot during the second half of a men’s junior college basketball game against Mid Michigan Community College on Tuesday at Park Arena.

The Alpena Community College men’s basketball team came in with a game plan to limit Mid Michigan Community College’s Jaylen Rutherford who, entering Tuesday was the second leading scorer in the nation and dropped 29 on the Lumberjacks in the season opener.

Alpena did what no other team has been able to do so far this season, keeping Rutherford in check as the Lumberjacks held the star sophomore to just eight points on 4-of-14 shooting.

Alpena played its best game of the season and despite its best performance and holding down Rutherford, the Lumberjacks missed too many easy and open shots and fell into another offensive lull late in the second half and eventually fell to the Lakers by a final score of 82-62 at Park Arena.

“We didn’t play bad basketball. We kept Rutherford, the second leading scorer in the nation to single digits and our assistant coach Andy Marwede had a good game plan to stop him. The big thing was we couldn’t buy a bucket in the second half,” ACC coach Mark Jacobs said. “We had a lot of open shots, but just could not buy a bucket.”

Defensively, Steeve Nicolas was called upon to guard Rutherford and was in his hip pocket all night and made life difficult for him.

Alpena went punch for punch with the Lakers in the first half and did a much better job moving the ball around, rebounding and scoring baskets down low. But for as improved as they were in those areas, the Lumberjacks still missed too many easy opportunities underneath the basket and missed open looks at crucial points and they trailed 43-36 at the break.

“We put Steeve on him (Rutherford) for a reason. He is our best on ball defender and he played a heck of a game. Steeve has size, is a good athlete and he did a nice job,” Jacobs said. “We missed a lot of puppies. That’s our Mikan Drill that we work on in practice and surprisingly we just could not hit. We were off tonight and that’s just part of our game we need to work on is hitting those open looks. We need to find out who’s going to be our outside scorer and we’ll continue to work on that. Again, we didn’t play terrible, but we just couldn’t buy a bucket.”

The second half belonged to the Lakers, including the final 10 minutes which Mid Michigan dominated.

The Lumberjacks trailed 62-51 with just over 10 minutes to play and were outscored 20-11 the rest of the way. Alpena had opportunities to keep the game close, but the shots were not falling for the Lumberjacks in their final home game of 2019.

The trio of Nicolas, Chris DeRocher and Logan Guenther combined for 43 of Alpena’s 62 points in the game. DeRocher led the way with a game high 16 points, Guenther added 15 and Nicolas chipped in with 12.

Mid Michigan was paced by Kaleb Keipert who finished with 13 points. Dre Tuominen and Isaac Hungerford each scored 12 points apiece and Javel Lewis added 11 points.

The Lumberjacks will finish the year with a road game at Muskegon Community College on Saturday.

“We’re really going to focus on the good things that happened tonight. We moved the ball around a lot better and we need to focus on the positives and fix the bad things that happened,” Jacobs said. “We will be okay. We have too much talent. These guys care, we just need to play together and once we put the ball in the hole we’re going to be a different ball club.”

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Box Score: Field goals made/Free throws made/Free throws attempted/Total Points

Mid Michigan (82): K. Keipert, 6 1-4 13; J. Rutherford 4 0-0 8; D. Tuominen, 6 1-1 12; J. Lewis, 5 1-2 11; H. Andrade 2 0-2 4; T. Steward 2 2-2 6; A. Evans, 3 0-0 5; D. Tandy, 1 1-2 3; M. Cramer, 1 0-0 2; I. Hungerford, 4 0-0 12; T. Raedy, 0 2-2 2; A. Rogers, 1 2-2 4.

Alpena (62): L. Guenther, 5 4-4 15; G. Miller, 0 2-2 2; S. Nicolas, 5 2-4 12; C. DeRocher, 7 2-4 16; I. Hogsett, 1 0-0 3; C. Baker, 1 0-0 2; B. Moran, 1 0-0 2; D. Bodiford, 2 1-2 5; T. Woodward, 0 2-2 2; A. Brain, 1 0-0 2.