Grand Rapids, Mich. - The Alma College men's basketball team came away with a 67-66 win from Calvin College on Saturday (Jan. 5) afternoon after Steven Harvey (Grand Rapids, Mich. / Forest Hills Eastern) hit the game-winning free throws with 0.3 seconds remaining.
Down 65-66 with three seconds remaining, Harvey was fouled as he attempted to tip in a missed three-pointer from Kyle Woodruff (Grand Blanc, Mich. / Holly). Originally, the game clock had run out, but the referees conferred and put three-tenths of a second back on the clock and awarded Harvey two free throws. The junior guard calmly swished both attempts to give the Scots the lead and, eventually, the win.
The photo-finish came after the Scots were forced to battle back from down six in the second half while both teams struggled offensively in the final minutes. The game saw 11 lead changes and four ties, though Calvin led for most of the second half.
Kevin Gamble (Mt. Pleasant, Mich. / Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart) posted his third straight double-double with a season-high 18 points and 11 rebounds. Ryan Stevens (Lowell, Mich. / Lowell) also had a double-double, his second of the season and third of his career, with 12 points and 10 assists. Kyle Woodruff (Grand Blanc, Mich. / Holly) was in double figures with 15 points, all of them coming from beyond the arc, as was Harvey with 10 points, all coming in the second half.
Calvin's Derrick DeVries led all scorers with 23 points. Both Carlos Amoros-Gutierrez and Jason Walter scored 10 off the bench. Alex Bos pulled down 10 rebounds.
- Alma began the game well, shooting 7-of-13 from the field and 5-of-9 from three. On the defensive end, the Scots forced Calvin into missing seven of its first 10 shots, leading to a 17-9 Alma lead, its largest of the game. Immediately following that, an 11-2 run gave Calvin its first lead at 20-19.
- The two teams traded the lead four times in the final six and a half minutes of the half until Gamble tied the game at 34 with a jumper going into the break.
- The Scots and Knights again traded the lead in the early stages of the second half, as Harvey nailed a three to open the half before Calvin went on a 9-0 run to go up 43-37. Alma scored the next seven points, lead by Harvey with five, to retake the lead, 44-43. Then, DeVries sank two straight buckets to give Calvin a 48-44 advantage with 14:40 left. The Knights would hold that lead, albeit slim, until the final minutes.
- Calvin again worked its way up to another six-point lead, its biggest of the game, at the 9:52 mark after five straight points from DeVries. From that point on, Alma outscored the Knights 16-9 behind four three-pointers and four clutch free throws. The two teams combined to shoot 8-of-32 (25-percent) over the final 9:43, including closing the game on a 2-for-23 stretch.
- The Knights' lead became a one-point deficit after Cole Kleiver (Williamston, Mich. / Williamston) drained a three to bring Alma to within one, then hit two free throws with 1:20 left to put Alma up 65-64. After DeVries missed a three on the other end, Kleiver's bank shot attempt from eight feet out clanged off the rim and the ball fell to Harvey who missed a difficult shot with his momentum carrying him away from the basket. Calvin got the rebound and called a timeout, following which, Amoros-Gutierrez sank an easy jumper from the wing off a pick-and-roll to give the Knights a 66-65 lead with 12 seconds left, forcing the Scots to call a timeout.
- Kleiver missed a pull-up three on the ensuing possession and the rebound went right to Gamble on the baseline, who missed a floater. The ball careened out of bounds off a Calvin player with three seconds left. Taking the ball out under the basket, Stevens found Woodruff in the corner for a contested three. The shot bounced off the rim and was met by Harvey in midair, who was fouled on a putback attempt by Amoros-Gutierrez with 0.3 seconds left. He sank both free throws and the Scots tipped away the ensuing Calvin inbound pass to earn the win.
- After beginning the game hot, Alma ended the first half shooting 12-of-27 from the field, though it made eight of its 18 threes. Conversely, Calvin shot 4-of-18 from deep in the first half but grabbed 20 rebounds to Alma's nine.
- Kevin Gamble's 18 points were two off his career-best, set last season on Nov. 29 in an 81-79 win at Ohio Northern.
- Only 20 fouls were called in the game and the two teams combined to shoot 8-of-9 from the free throw line, with Alma making all six of its attempts.
- Amari Hudson (Highland Park, Mich. / Detroit Edison Public School Academy) was the only Scot to score off the bench.
- Freshman Eddie Ferguson (Columbus, Ohio / Central Crossing) saw his first action of the season but did not register a stat.
What He Said
"I thought we really competed well tonight. They guys never gave in, and we didn't let some poor shooting influence our defense too many times. Obviously, those were some clutch free throws by Steve. I think we'll gain confidence from this win against a very good and talented team."
- Head Coach Sam Hargraves
Alma returns home to face Albion on Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in a matchup of the only two 2-0 teams in the MIAA.