MacVean's buzzer-beater lifts Clippers past Indians
During his playing days with the Detroit Pistons, Chauncey Billups earned the nickname “Mr. Big Shot” for his propensity to make shots at crucial times.
For at least one game, Martin senior Matt MacVean showed himself worthy of that moniker as well.
As time expired in the first half of the Clippers’ season-opener with Saugatuck on Tuesday, Dec. 6, MacVean banked in a 3-pointer that tied the score at 35-35.
That, it turned out, was just the appetizer.
Because with the game knotted at 63-63 and the final seconds of the fourth quarter ticking off the clock, MacVean took a pass from Andrew Boss and calmly buried another triple to give Martin the 66-63 win at the buzzer.
Martin coach David Curry said the victory over Saugatuck was one of the biggest for his program in recent memory.
“I don’t know if any of our kids have beaten Saugatuck in anything the past few years, so this is huge,” Curry said. “We came into this season expecting to be a good team and we knew Saugatuck should be one of the best teams in the league as well. I told the kids it was like opening the season against Duke.
“So for us to find a way to pull this one out should give us a tremendous amount of confidence moving forward.”
The loss for Saugatuck spoiled the varsity-coaching debut of Andy Diaz.
“This isn’t the way I was envisioning my debut going,” Diaz said. “But you have to give Martin a lot of credit. Their kids played hard and playing (in Martin) is always tough. I remember how tough it was to play here when I was in high school and that hasn’t changed.”
MacVean wasn’t the first option on the game’s final shot.
Rather, Curry had drawn up a play to get the ball in the hands of big man Tanner Curry. It was an understandable strategy as Tanner Curry finished with a game-best 25 points to go with 15 rebounds.
But when Saugatuck’s defense prevented that from happening, Boss moved on to Plan B, finding MacVean open at the top of the key.
MacVean, who finished with 15 points, did the rest.
“That play all starts with the pass,” David Curry said. “Boss put the ball right in Matt’s hands and Matt buried it. We work on those kinds of plays in practice all the time and it paid off for us.”
The game, particularly the second half, was a back-and-forth affair. Neither team led by more than five points during the final two quarters.
The score stood at 61-60 in Martin’s favor with less than two minutes to play when a steal from Saugatuck’s Wyatt Werme led to a layup by Blake Dunn.
Martin retook the lead at 63-62 on a pair of free throws from Tanner Curry only to see Saugatuck make it 63-63 on a free throw from Dunn with 33 seconds remaining.
That set the stage for MacVean.
“I thought we did some good things, but we obviously have a lot to work on,” Diaz said. “We need to get better defensively. (Tanner) Curry is a load in there for them, but we have to play better on the defensive end of the floor in the future.”
Dunn paced Saugatuck with 19 points, while Werme added 14. Seven of Werme’s points game in the final quarter to help keep his team close.
“Wyatt was a nice surprise for us tonight,” Diaz said. “He did a great job of stepping up when we needed it.”
Boss had 16 points for Martin to give the Clippers three double-digit scorers along with Tanner Curry and MacVean.