Alma, Mich. - The Alma College men's basketball team snapped a four-game losing streak with a 78-69 comeback win over Olivet on Wednesday (Feb. 6) evening. Alma (5-17, 4-7 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association) is now in sole possession of sixth place in the conference — one game ahead of Kalamazoo — with three games remaining.
Cole Kleiver (Williamston, Mich. / Williamston) led the Scots with 20 points and four three-pointers. Kyle Woodruff (Grand Blanc, Mich. / Holly) scored 15 — 13 in the second half and overtime — and grabbed eight rebounds off the bench, while Steven Harvey (Grand Rapids, Mich. / Forest Hills Eastern) had 14 and Ryan Stevens (Lowell, Mich. / Lowell) had 13.
Olivet's Trevor Manuel tallied 30 points on 12-of-30 shooting to go with 11 rebounds. Delbert Redfield had 12 points off the bench, all three-pointers. They were the only two Comets in double-figures.
Both teams shot under 40-percent from the field and turned the ball over a combined 26 times. There were eight lead changes and six ties in the game, and the only double-digit lead of the game lasted for 15 seconds. Alma trailed for the final 15 minutes until Woodruff converted a layup with 31 seconds left to tie the game at 65. Already in the bonus from the second half, the Scots went 6-of-6 from the free-throw line in overtime and won the extra period 13-4.
Prior to the game, Alma's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee was presented with the NCAA Team Works Helper Helper Community Service Competition award for the work Alma athletics has done in the community. Over 500 Alma student-athletes logged nearly 3,000 hours of community service from September through November 2018, including writing Christmas cards, shopping for gifts, and packing and sending them to military troops in tandem with a local insurance company. Student-athletes have also been involved with volunteering at the local Masonic Home, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Habitat for Humanity, among others. This is the second-straight year Alma has received the award.
How It Happened
- Olivet got out to a 9-3 lead to begin the game and Alma fought back with a 9-2 run, but the Comets followed with their own 9-2 run to hold a four-point lead halfway through the frame.
- The Comets continued to keep Alma at bay — when Kleiver hit a three to get Alma back to within one, Olivet responded with seven straight points. Kleiver and Redfield traded threes on three straight possessions and a jumper from Stevens again cut Olivet's lead to one.
- Alma finally regained the lead with a jumper from Brandon Rake (Whitehall, Mich. / Whitehall) and a layup from Harvey. Those buckets gave the Scots a 33-31 lead with three minutes remaining in the half. If was Alma's first lead in over ten minutes of game time. The Scots would enter the half up by two, 38-36.
- Alma maintained its slim lead for the first few minutes of the half until the Comets broke out. They went on a 16-3 run over a nine-minute span to take a 10 point lead, the largest of the game for either team. The Scots missed all 10 of their shots from the field during that span and turned the ball over six times. Harvey stopped the run with a three-pointer.
- With 5:47 remaining and Alma down by seven, Olivet's Trevor Manuel was called for a technical foul while fighting for position on a rebound. Woodruff made both technical free throws — his first points since 13:19 of the first half — to make it a five-point game.
- The score hovered around that mark for about three minutes, until Kleiver nailed a three from the corner to get to within four. Woodruff followed with a fast-break layup after a missed Olivet three and a driving scoop layup to tie the game with 31 seconds left. Olivet had a chance to win at the buzzer, but it missed a contested three.
- Woodruff hit his first and only three of the game to break a 67-67 tie in overtime and give Alma the lead for good. After four made free throws from Kleiver and Stevens, Woodruff made a tip-in off a missed layup to seal the win.
- Brandon Rake pulled down 13 rebounds, including a career-high six on offense. Rake is averaging 9.7 rebounds in his last six games.
- The Scots shot 88-percent from the free-throw line (15-of-17), their best percentage of the season in games which they took at least 10 free throws.
- Alma grabbed a season-best 48 rebounds in the game; all but one Scot registered a rebound.
- Alma shot 40-percent from the field, its second-lowest shooting percentage in a win this season. The Scots made 38-percent of their shots in a one-point win at Calvin on January 5.
- Trevor Manuel, the MIAA's leading scorer, had 30 points, but was held well under his average shooting percentage for the season. Manuel averages 52-percent from the field, but was held to 40-percent (12-of-30) on Wednesday.
What He Said
"I'm so proud of the response from these guys after our last game. We grinded it out. We competed. We never gave up. This is a high-character group of kids and they showed it tonight."
- Head Coach Sam Hargraves
Alma travels to Hope on Saturday (Feb. 9) to take on the Flying Dutchmen at 3 p.m. Alma dropped an 87-74 decision to Hope earlier this season.