On Tuesday evening, the Alma College Men's Basketball team hosted NAIA Kuyper College at Art Smith Arena and came away with an exciting 77-73 victory. The game marked the first home game of the season and for new Head Coach Sam Hargraves. The Scots are now 2-2 this season, while the Cougars stand at 4-6 thus far in 2011-12.
"It was obviously great to get the win and I thought our seniors really stepped up at the end which was nice to see," said Hargraves. "We were able to jump on them a bit in each half but we need to learn to play better with a lead. Our energy comes from our defensive play and that needs to be a constant for us because that is what makes us successful."
After the visitors scored the first bucket of the game for the 2-0 lead, Alma took the lead at 5-2, when Jr. G Greg Silverthorn (Shepherd, Mich./Shepherd) hit a three at 17:49. The Scots held the lead for the rest of the half, even though Kuyper did cut the deficit to 18-17 with 9:05 remaining.
Twice Alma increased the lead to eight points and ultimately took a four-point advantage, 37-33, into halftime. The Scots shot 42% in the first 20 minutes, while the Cougars hit on 46% of their attempts.
Cory Schneider attempts a shot in win over Kuyper - he drained a three-pointer to give team the lead with 32 seconds remaining later in the game
The Scots came out in the second half as the aggressors and used a tough, hard-nosed defense and timely shooting to go on a 14-6 run, taking a 51-39 lead at the 15:45 mark. The home team achieved their biggest lead of the game at 56-43, when Sr. G Cory Schneider (Carson City, Mich./Carson City-Crystal) hit a jumper with 12:28 remaining.
But the Cougars were not going to go away easily on this night and rallied to take a one-point lead at 66-65 after two free throws by Andy DeKam with 3:21 remaining. The two teams exchanged the lead twice more before the Scots took possession with 45 seconds left, down 73-72.
Schneider then put the Scots ahead for good when he hit a three-pointer, assisted by Sr. F Tommy Erickson (Escanaba, Mich./Escanaba) with 32 seconds left for 75-73 advantage. After a missed Kuyper shot, Erickson grabbed the rebound and was fouled. His two free throws sealed the 77-73 win for Alma.
For the game, the Scots had three players score in double figures - Silverthorn and Schneider with 15 points and So. F Sean Clancy (Port Austin, Mich./North Huron) with 12. Erickson added nine points and four rebounds, while Silverthorn led the way for Alma with seven total rebounds.
The Scots will play John Carroll University on Friday afternoon at 5:00 p.m. in the first game of a two-game tournament at Spalding University (KY). The second game time and opponent will be determined by the result of Friday's game.