Less than 24 hours removed from an emotional and hard-fought two overtime loss to Case Western in the first day of the Bill Sudeck Holiday Classic, the Scots Men's Basketball team came from behind to defeat the University of Chicago by a score of 76-74 to finish 1-1 in the tournament. The Classic was hosted by Case Western in Cleveland.
With today's win, Alma improved to 5-6 in 2012-13, while the University of Chicago dropped to 6-5 on the season. Fr. F DJ Beckman (Shelby, Mich./Shelby) earned All-Tournament team honors after averaging 22.0 points per game on 63% (17 of 27) shooting.
"This was a big time mentally tough performance as Chicago is a physical, well coached, competitive team," said Alma Head Coach Sam Hargraves. "For us to put forth the effort today after the double OT war yesterday was impressive. I couldn't be prouder of these guys right now, but it has to continue every game moving forward."
As would be expected, the Scots got off to a slow start and found themselves down 10-2 at the 15:55 mark and 23-15 with 10:07 left in the first half. But, Alma went on a 15-6 run and took a 30-29 lead on a jumper from Jr. F Jake Murawske (Harbor Beach, Mich./Harbor Beach) with 5:47 remaining. The Maroons then took back the lead on their next possession and were able to go into halftime with a 38-34 advantage.
The second half was tight throughout as the game saw the score tied six times and had three lead changes as the two teams fought tooth and nail for 20 minutes.
The Scots had a six-point lead at 45-39 when Jr. F Isiah Law (Grand Haven, Mich./Grand Haven) hit a three-pointer at the 16:58 mark. Chicago had a four-point advantage at 63-59 with 7:29 remaining, but with 4:29 left Sr. G Chris Williamson (Fowlersville, Mich./Fowlersville) hit a lay-up to put the Scots ahead 67-65, a lead they would not relenquish.
But, that does not mean the game lacked drama up until the end. With the Scots holding a 76-74 lead in the final minute, the Scots missed a free throw attempt with 29 seconds that gave the Maroons life.
After Chicago missed two shots in the final 10 seconds, they still had a final chance with one tick on the clock remaining. But a missed front end of a one and one free throw bounced off the rim and into the hands of Beckman, giving Alma the two-point win.
Beckman led all Alma scorers with 20 points, while Law and Sr. F Brian Sheridan (New Lothrop, Mich./New Lothrop) each added 12 points in the win. Williamson contributed 11 points, four rebounds and three assists and Jr. G Brandon Krause (Sanford, Mich./Meridian) had a team-high six helpers to go with six points.
The Scots are now off until Thursday, January 3, when they begin MIAA action at Hope College. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.