Alma, Mich. - The Alma College men's basketball team pulled away from Kalamazoo in the second half en route to a 74-61 win on Wednesday (Jan. 2) evening. Alma has now won two straight and is 2-10 on the season and 1-0 in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, while the Hornets fall to 3-9 overall and 0-1 to open conference play.
The game was played to raise awareness of prostate cancer, as the MIAA has partnered with P.C.U.P.S (Prostate Cancer – Understanding, Prevention, Screenings) during the first week of the new year.
After an even first half, Alma shot a scorching 72-percent (18-of-25) from the field in the second frame and held Kalamazoo to 40-percent, including 23-percent from three-point range.
Junior forward Kyle Woodruff (Grand Blanc, Mich. / Holly) led all scorers with 22 points, 14 coming in the second frame. Senior forward Kevin Gamble (Mt. Pleasant, Mich. / Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart) posted his second straight double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Junior guard Ryan Stevens (Lowell, Mich. / Lowell) posted 12 points and eight assists, while sophomore guard Matt Lark (Middleville, Mich. / Thornapple Kellogg) came through with 10 points in 20 minutes off the bench, knocking down both of his threes.
Tre Humes led the Hornets with 15 points off the bench. Jeremiah Vincent tallied 12 points - those two were the only Hornets out of nine scorers in double-figures.
How it Happened
- The game was sloppy to start; the two teams combined to go 0-for-8 from the field with three turnovers. Woodruff scored the game's first bucket, a three, at the 16:31 mark.
- There were six ties and 10 lead changes in the first half; Alma's biggest lead was three - the basket Woodruff opened the game with. Kalamazoo's biggest lead was four, which it held four times. There were also six instances where one team made a shot, only to have the other answer with the same shot on the very next possession. The teams were tied at 29 at the half.
- The game continued to be back-and-forth in the early half of the second frame. Alma and Kalamazoo traded buckets on their first three possessions, with Vincent sinking a three to put the Hornets up one, 36-35. The two teams continued to go blow-for-blow before Alma started knocking down threes while Kalamazoo was hitting twos. Back-to-back threes from Woodruff brought the Scots from down 41-43 to up 47-45. That was the start of a 10-2 run that forced the Hornets into taking a timeout.
- Following the breather, Woodruff sank two more threes in a 21-second span to put the Scots firmly in the driver's seat with a 57-45 lead. Next, Lark got in on the action with one of his two threes which caused the Kalamazoo bench to erupt and get called for a technical foul. Cole Kleiver (Williamston, Mich. / Williamston) made the free throw and Gamble dropped in a layup on the ensuing possession. Two possessions later, Gamble again pump-faked his defender in the air and calmly sank another layup to give Alma a 66-48 lead, its biggest of the game.
- Kalamazoo cut the deficit to 10 with a three by Marty Ward at 2:19 and immediately called a timeout, but the Scots broke the press as Stevens found a wide open Harvey under the basket for an easy layup. A nearly identical play happened two Alma possessions later after the Hornets missed a three. Gamble received a pass off the rebound and delivered an alley-oop to Harvey to give the Scots a 72-59 lead with a minute left.
- Both teams made 11 field goals in the first half. Kalamazoo hit two more threes, and Alma went 2-for-2 from the free throw line.
- Kyle Woodruff made six of his eight three-point attempts, his highest three-point shooting percentage of the season. His six made threes were also one off his career-best, set against No. 19 Illinois Wesleyan on Nov. 17, when he needed 13 attempts
- Alma shot a respectable 5-of-13 from three-point range in the first half. It followed that up with five makes on just nine attempts in the second half. Woodruff was 4-of-6, himself.
- Alma held the Hornets to 35.9-percent shooting from the field for the game, its best defensive field goal percentage of the season.
- The is the second-straight game Alma has won the rebounding differential. The Scots were +11 on the boards, its best mark of the year.
Alma will travel to Calvin to face the Knights on Saturday, Jan. 5 for a 3:00 p.m. game.