Wheaton, Ill. - The Alma College men's basketball team picked up its second win of the season on Saturday (Dec. 16) night, defeating Wheaton College by an 87-82 margin at King Arena. The Scots (2-5 overall), one night removed from their worst shooting performance of the year, hit a season-high 52 percent of their shots and led for the majority of the game.
Sophomore Preston Laketa (Concord, Mich./Hanover-Horton) came off the bench to pace Alma with 22 points - including 18 in the first half - as five players reached double-figures. Senior Kevin Scheibert (Sanford, Mich./Sanford-Meridian) netted 13 points, sophomore Ryan Stevens (Lowell, Mich./Lowell) scored 12, while juniors Doug Bradfield (Mason, Mich./Mason) and Kevin Gamble (Mt. Pleasant, Mich./Sacred Heart) each tallied 10 points. Gamble also collected a team-high seven rebounds.
Wheaton (6-3) was led by Aston Francis, who scored a game-high 28 points and hit six three-pointers as the Thunder were held to just over 36 percent shooting from the floor.
How It Happened
- A 13-3 run five minutes into the first half fueled the Scots, who shot over 58 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes. Alma went on a 12-2 run later in the half to open up a 10-point lead and finished the half on an 8-3 stretch, with two three-pointers by Preston Laketa and a dunk by Kevin Scheibert to enter the break leading 52-41.
- In the second half, the Scots built up a 14-point advantage with 16:43 to play before the Thunder went on a 10-0 run to cut the lead to four points with 12:55 on the clock. Alma responded with three-pointers from Ryan Stevens, Doug Bradfield and Luke Lamoreaux to outscore Wheaton 11-5 and regain a 10-point spread with 10:53 left in the game.
- Up 12 points with 4:35 remaining, the Thunder mounted a final comeback attempt, putting together a 10-1 run to pull within three points with 1:38 to go. Wheaton could not get the equalizer, and a basket by Stevens with 16 seconds to play sealed the victory.
- Alma shot a season-high 52.4 percent from the field, one night after its' worst shooting performance of the season.
- Preston Laketa's 22 points is the most points scored by an Alma player this season.
- Alma used a different starting five for the second straight game, inserting Luke Lamoreaux into the lineup for the first time this season. Lamoreaux joined Rob Holmes, Kevin Scheibert, Ryan Stevens and Doug Bradfield.
- The Scots are now 1-4 against teams from the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin this season. Alma faced No. 2 Augustana (IL), Illinois Wesleyan, Elmhurst (IL), North Central (IL) and Wheaton in the non-conference portion of their schedule which is more than half of the teams in the CCIW.
The Scots will take part in a pair of holiday tournaments, starting on December 20-21 when Alma will be in Daytona Beach, Fla., to play in the 2017 Daytona Beach Shootout. The Scots will face Berry (GA) on Wednesday, Dec. 20, followed by a matchup with Bates (ME) on Thursday, Dec. 21. After Christmas, Alma will play in the E.M. "Mose" Hole/Wooster Kiwanis Classic at the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio. The Scots will face Emory & Henry (VA) on December 29 and then either WPI (MA) or the host Fighting Scots on December 30.