Albion survives challenges from Kalamazoo
ALBION, Mich. – Down by eight to Kalamazoo College with 6 ½ minutes left, it looked as if the Albion College men's basketball team would be gathering Thursday to turn in equipment instead of practicing in advance of a semifinal round game in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament.
It turns out Chris Hutton had other plans and Albion will be driving to Holland Friday as the MIAA Tournament continues after the Britons dispatched Kalamazoo, 76-66 in double overtime. Albion will square off against Calvin College at 6 p.m. inside Hope College's DeVos Fieldhouse. Adrian College, a double overtime survivor over Olivet College Wednesday night, will matchup with the Flying Dutchmen, an easy winner over Alma College, in the second semifinal.
Unable to find the range from behind the arc, Hutton made a pair of layups and two free throws to pull Albion even at 48 with less than two minutes left. His only "three" of the night put Albion in front 51-48 with 1:08 left, but a missed free throw left the door ajar for Grant Carey to extend the game with a "three" from the left wing with 1.6 seconds on the clock.
"I'm really proud of our guys for not playing very well, not shooting very well, but gutting it out," Albion coach Jody May said. "I don't know how we dit it. We just kept clawing and fighting.
"I keep telling Chris 'take your shots'," May said of his junior guard who led the Britons with 24 points on 6-of-15 shooting from the floor. "It the (3-point shot) is not going he has to attack it. He starts feeling better about himself (after making a layup)."
J.C. Cruse made Albion's last two baskets of the first overtime as the Britons overcame a 60-58 deficit. Albion never trailed in the second overtime as Kolin Kazen hit a pair of free throws and Cruse added a layup and a free throw. Cruse and Kazen finished with 16 and 10, respectively.
Nearly lost in the box score was the contribution of Jake Siebert who scored 12 points in addition to defending Kalamazoo center Joe Prepolec who collected a double-double of 27 points and 12 rebounds. Ryan Clark also turned a double-double of 14 points and 16 rebounds for the Hornets.
"We tried everything (defensively) on Joe," May said. "It's tough when he catches the ball in the post because he has a lot of moves. He's a load."