Alma, Mich. - The Alma College men's basketball team suffered a stinging 78-74 loss to Adrian College on Wednesday (Feb. 13) evening, but the team remains in control of its own playoff destiny.
The Scots (5-19, 4-9 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association) held a 10-point lead midway through the second half but let it slip away over a three-minute period. Adrian (5-19, 2-11 MIAA) took a three-point lead at 6:01 and though Alma pulled to within one with under two minutes remaining, it couldn't get in front.
Ryan Stevens (Lowell, Mich. / Lowell) led the Scots with 19 points and six assists. Cole Kleiver (Williamston, Mich. / Williamston) scored 18 and Kyle Woodruff (Grand Blanc, Mich. / Holly) added 15 points and 10 rebounds for his second straight double-double.
Adrian's Jeremy Kalonji led all players with 31 points. Jordan Harris posted 24 points with six three-pointers and Ke'Shaun Wyatt-Morris pulled down 17 rebounds.
Alma is tied with Kalamazoo for the sixth and final playoff spot with one game remaining, though it currently holds the tiebreaker over the Hornets. Should the Scots defeat Trine this Saturday (Feb. 16), they would clinch the sixth and final seed. Should Alma lose, it would need Kalamazoo to lose to Adrian to maintain its tiebreaker.
Prior to the game, the program celebrated its four-member senior class: Kevin Gamble (Mt. Pleasant, Mich. / Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart), Doug Bradfield (Mason, Mich. / Mason), Scott Maki (Grand Blanc, Mich. / Holly) and Sean O'Malley.
How It Happened
- Both teams started very slow, shooting a combined 4-of-30 over the first 10 minutes. Alma led 6-5 halfway through the half.
- Eventually, shots began to fall as Adrian took a 25-16 lead with 3:48 left. Alma would come back with nine straight points to tie the game, culminating with an and-one from Kleiver. When the Bulldogs went up by three, it was Kleiver again tying the game at 28 with a deep three to go into halftime.
- Scoring came easier in the second half. The two teams fought over the lead for the first five minutes until Alma opened up a 10 point lead midway through the second half. Amari Hudson (Highland Park, Mich. / Detroit Edison Public School Academy) showcased his passing skills on two straight possessions, first with a crossover to a right-handed whip through the lane to Brandon Rake (Whitehall, Mich. / Whitehall) and later with a bounce-pass through the paint to a streaking Kleiver for an easy layup. Stevens also had a smooth assist where he gathered an offensive rebound in the air and dropped the ball off for a cutting Harvey in one motion.
- Stevens hit a three at 9:41 to give Alma a ten-point lead, the biggest in the game by either team. But the Bulldogs would score 14 of the game's next 15 points to go up by four. Jordan Harris hit three of his four three-point attempts during the run.
- Adrian pushed its lead to five with 2:13 remaining. Layups from Stevens and Woodruff pulled the Scots to within one at 1:43, but Kalonji converted an and-one to make the deficit four. With less than a minute remaining, Alma turned the ball over after being swarmed in the paint and was forced to foul with 29 seconds left. Adrian would seal the win from the free-throw line.
- The Scots and Bulldogs combined to shoot 21-of-64 (33-percent) from the field in the first half. Both teams fared much better in the second half, going 37-of-70 (53-percent).
- Ryan Stevens grabbed a season-high eight rebounds in the game.
- Alma made just four of its three-point attempts, led by Kleiver with two. Conversely, Adrian made 11 of 33.
- Adrian's bench scored zero points in the game, while all 12 of Alma's bench points came from Steven Harvey (Grand Rapids, Mich. / Forest Hills Eastern).
Alma will travel to Trine this Saturday (Feb. 16) for both team's final game of the regular season. The Thunder have clinched the top seed in the MIAA tournament with a 10-3 record, while the Scots need to either defeat Trine or have Kalamazoo lose to Adrian to secure a spot.