ALBION, Mich. – North Central College didn't want to give Albion College an opportunity to drive to the basket in the closing seconds, so Luke Walker made the right play. Walker kicked to Alex Harville for a wide open 3-point shot in the corner that lifted the Britons to a 61-60 victory in the non-league contest.
"You have to have a little luck to win close games," Albion Coach Jody May admitted. "North Central missed a wide open layup. If you are fundamental, you have a chance to win.
"We had been driving the last couple possessions and they didn't want to give up a layup," May added. "Luke has made big plays in the last two games we've won. That's what seniors are supposed to do."
Albion survived a haymaker from North Central as the Cardinals went on a 16-1 run. Albion's 46-37 lead with 12 minutes left in the first half turned into a 53-47 North Central bulge in just five minutes.
North Central increased its intensity after technical fouls had been assessed to a member of both teams. C.J. Goldthree and Aaron Tiknis started the rally by completing old-fashioned three-point plays. Tiknis would add two more layups and a pair of free throws as he finished with a season-high 15 points. Vince Kmiec also banked in a 3-point goal during the run.
"Things bounced their way when they made their run," May said. "I reminded the players that we would have a good chance to win if we played defense and grabbed rebounds. We did a very good job on defense by forcing tougher shots."
Albion ripped off six quick points – Leonard Wernette-Leff knocked down a hook shot, Anthony Wash sank a pair of free throws, and Kolin Kazen produced a layup in transition – and neither team led by more than three down the stretch.
Mike Smith was the only Albion player to score in double figures. He finished with 11 on 5-of-8 shooting from the field.
Albion will take more than a week off from competition as it concentrates on fall semester final examinations. The Britons return to action Dec. 10 with a non-league date against Carthage (Wis.) College.