The Alma College Men's hoops team hosted Spring Arbor University in a non-league game on Saturday evening and recorded an exciting 74-69 overtime victory at Art Smith Arena. With the win, the Scots are now 4-4 on the season, while the Cougars fell to 9-5 in 2012-13.
"It was no doubt great to pull the win out as Spring Arbor is a talented team that gave us plenty of matchup problems," said Scots Head Coach Sam Hargraves. "But big picture we've got to start to learn how to play when we get a lead. We are not in that position very often which is part of it, but the belief has to be better in what we try to do.
"We had far too many possessions in the second half where we just stood around like deer in headlights and watched one guy dribble. That's not our offense. You could also tell how stagnant we were by getting destroyed on the boards in the second half. The nice thing is we won the game and we can still be much better."
The first half saw Spring Arbor take leads of 6-2 and 8-4 (at 15:54) before the Scots got their first advantage at 10-8 on a three-point basket by Jr. F Isiah Law (Grand Haven, Mich./Grand Haven) with 14:25 left.
Alma increased their lead to 25-18 on a bucket by Fr. G DJ Beckman (Shelby, Mich./Shelby) at 5:52. The home team then extended their lead to 12 (37-25) at halftime as Law hit a trey with seven seconds remaining in the frame.
The Scots still led by 11 at 43-32 after a three-pointer by Sr. G Greg Silverthorn (Shepherd, Mich./Shepherd) with 15:15 remaining, but the Cougers went on a 17-4 run over the next six minutes to cut their deficit to 49-47 at the 9:11 mark.
The home team twice got the lead back to five points, the second time at 63-58 after a Silverthorn three, but Spring Arbor came back to tie it at 63 a piece on a lay-up at 1:24. Jr. G Brandon Krause (Sanford, Mich./Meridian) put the Scots up 65-63 at 1:01 but two free throws by the visitors tied it again and the two teams went to overtime at 65-65.
Spring Arbor took a 69-65 lead 1:30 into the extra frame but the Scots had no quit in them on this evening. Two free throws by Sr. G Chris Williamson (Fowlerville, Mich./Fowlerville) tied the contest at 69-69 with 1:17 and then Williamson followed that with a dagger that put the game away - a three with 25 seconds remaining that put the Scots up 72-69.
After a missed three-pointer by the Cougars, Law got the rebound and was fouled. He calmly drained two free throw attempts and the Scots were able to walk off the Art Smith Arena court with the 74-69 triumph. For the game, Alma shot 47% (30 of 64) from the floor, including 10 of 22 from beyond the arc. Spring Arbor hit 29 of 68 shots (43%) on the game and were three of ten on three-point attempts. The Cougars did outrebound the Scots by a margin of 47-28 overall.
Alma had five players finish in double figures in scoring - Law with 16, Williamson (13), Silverthorn (11), Beckman (11) and Jr. F Sean Clancy (Port Austin, Mich./North Huron), who finished with 10. Fr. G Scott Nikodemski (Rockford, Mich./Rockford) paced the Scots with six assists, while Silverthorn had three blocked shots defensively.
The Scots, having played their last home game of 2012, are now off until next Saturday when they travel to Grand Rapids to take on Cornerstone University. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.