On Saturday afternoon in Grand Rapids, the Alma College Men's Basketball team took on NAIA Cornerstone Unisversity and dropped an 89-76 decision to the host Golden Eagles. With the loss, the Scots now have a record of 4-5 in 2012-13, while Cornerstone improved to 10-4 on the season.
"This game was a great test for us and will hopefully continue to prepare us for the league," said Scots Head Coach Sam Hargraves. "We had far too many defensive breakdowns, both in transition and half court to have a chance to get over the hump against them. They are too talented for that.
"We battled and kept it close, but we have to play and execute much better against a team like Cornerstone to have a chance. Rebounding and fouling was a major problem, caused by poor on ball defense and late rotations."
The final score was not an indication of how close the game was throughout. Cornerstone jumped out to an early lead and held a 16-8 advantage at 15:14 of the first half. The Scots then went on a 10-1 run over the next three minutes and took a 18-17 lead at 12:38.
But the Golden Eagles slowly took command and had a 31-20 lead at 9:09 but again Alma came back, cutting the deficit to 39-36 on a jumper by Jr. F Isiah Law (Grand Haven, Mich./Grand Haven) with 1:06 left in the first frame. Cornerstone then proceeded to go into halfime with a 44-37 advantage.
It was more of the same in the second half as the Golden Eagles built their lead to 51-39 two minutes in, but Alma fought back with a 17-5 run and cut the margin to 59-56 on a jumper by Sr. F Brian Sheridan (New Lothrop, Mich./New Lothrop) with 11:02 left in the game.
However, Cornerstone was a determined bunch and the game stayed at about an eight to nine point margin the rest of the way, with Alma cutting it to six with as little as five minutes remaining. Made free throws played a big part in the final Golden Eagles' 13-point margin of victory at 89-76.
Fr. F DJ Beckman (Shelby, Mich./Shelby) led all Alma scorers with a career-best 22 points, includiing six three-pointers and he also added five rebounds and two blocked shots. Sr. G Chris Williamson (Fowlerville, Mich/Fowlerville) added 17 points off the bench, while Jr. G Brandon Krause (Sanford, Mich./Meridian) had 11 points and a team-best five assists.
The Scots are now off until next weekend when they travel to Cleveland to take part in the two-day Bill Sudeck Holiday Classic. Alma will play host Case-Western on Friday evening at 8:00 p.m. and then take on the University of Chicago on Saturday afternoon, beginning at 4:00 p.m.