Alma, Mich. - Four days after the Alma College men's basketball team defeated Calvin in the closing seconds, the Scots end up on the other side of that experience. Alma lost a tough game to Albion on Wednesday (Jan. 9), as Caden Ebeling tipped in a missed shot as time expired to hand the Scots a 75-73 loss, their first in the conference.
Cole Kleiver (Williamston, Mich. / Williamston) and Kyle Woodruff (Grand Blanc, Mich. / Holly) scored a team-high 15 points for Alma (3-11, 2-1 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association) while Ryan Stevens (Lowell, Mich. / Lowell) tallied 14 points and five assists. Steven Harvey (Grand Rapids, Mich. / Forest Hills Eastern) led all players with 10 rebounds, the most of his career.
Ebeling posted 25 points and eight rebounds in 26 minutes and sank 11 of his 13 free throws for the Britons (10-4, 3-0 MIAA). Quinton Armstrong had 16 points off the bench, and ArShawn Parker added 13.
The contest between the conference's last two undefeated teams was as close as could be. The biggest lead of the game for either team was eight and in the last four minutes, the gap was as large as three. Alma, which trailed for most of the second half, took a two-point lead with 2:18 remaining, but it would be its last. Albion scored three of the final four buckets, including the game-winning putback as time expired.
How It Happened
- The Scots got out to a quick 8-0 lead as they held Albion to 1-of-7 from the field to start the game. That eight-point lead would be Alma's biggest of the game. It continued to hold a slim lead until late in the first half when Dylan Bennett hit a three-pointer to break a 32-32 tie. Albion led 40-36 at the half. Woodruff led the Scots with eight points and six rebounds at the break. Stevens was close behind with seven, and Harvey, Kleiver and Gamble each had five.
- Both teams struggled to hit shots to start the second half; Alma started 2-for-5, while Albion went 2-for-8. Still, the Britons maintained the lead, maxing out at seven points at the 7:25 mark.
- Two free throws from Woodruff and a three on the next possession cut Albion's lead to two with 5:27 remaining, but Nathaniel Collins answered with a three on the other end to push the Britons' lead back to five.
- The Scots tied the game with 2:54 remaining after Woodruff was fouled on a layup. Harvey grabbed a rebound off an Albion missed three and fired an outlet pass to Woodruff down the court. He made the field goal, but missed the free throw that would have given Alma a one-point lead.
- On Albion's next possession, Gamble blocked a layup from Quinton Armstrong and found Stevens with a long pass to the frontcourt. Stevens scored with 2:18 remaining to force an Albion timeout and give Alma its first lead since the 3:01 mark of the first half.
- Following the timeout, Ebeling made a layup to tie the game and Jamezell Davis, Jr. hit a pull-up jumper from the elbow to give the Britons a two-point lead. Stevens responded with a jump hook in the post to tie the game once more at 73 with 1:16 left.
- Davis, Jr. missed a three on Albion's ensuing possession and Ebeling grabbed the offensive rebound, but was called for traveling with 59 seconds left. On the other end, Stevens attempted a cross-court pass to the corner that was picked off by Davis, Jr. with 27 seconds remaining. Albion called timeout with nine seconds left.
- Parker attempted a running jumper from the post and missed, but Ebeling was there for the putback. He got it off cleanly and it went through the hoop as time expired.
- Albion had a strong performance at the free throw line — the Britons made 19 of their 22 attempts from the stripe.
- Alma held the Britons to 40-percent shooting from the field and 27-percent from three-point range, the lowest of any opponent the Scots have faced this season.
- Alma was 8-of-27 from three-point range, but was 5-of-11 in the second half.
- Five made free throws and nine attempts are both the second-fewest Alma has had this year, and the fewest since Dec. 7 against No. 7 University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
- Two players fouled out: Brandon Rake (Whitehall, Mich. / Whitehall) and Albion's Jaylin Fordham.
Alma travels to Olivet to face the Comets on Saturday (Jan. 12) at 7:00 p.m.