ALBION, Mich. - Albion College shot 58 percent from the free throw line and surrendered an offensive rebound off a missed free throw with 12 seconds left to help 22nd-ranked University of Chicago escape Kresge Gymnasium with a 69-65 victory in non-league men's basketball action.
"The game came down to the little things," Albion Head Coach Jody May said after the Britons fell to 4-5 on the season. "We did a lot of good things today, but the championship caliber teams are those that do more of the little things – whether it be rebounding, shooting free throw or communicating – than the other team."
Jordan Herron scored 10 points in a 4 ½ minute span of the second half as Albion secured a 54-51 lead with 9:24 left in regulation.
Neither team led by more than three points as the lead changed three times until the final minute. Robert Ryan hit a pair of free throws as Albion forged a tie at 64 with 56 seconds left. Chicago regained the control as Jordan Smith countered with a three-point field goal.
Albion scored its final point when Ryan hit the second of two shots from the free throw line with 37 seconds left.
Trailing 67-65, the Britons needed a stop on the defensive end, but Alex Voss was fouled with 12 seconds left. Waller Perez hit his first attempt at the line after being fouled after corralling the rebound as Voss missed his second free throw.
Eager to snap a two-game skid, Albion played with confidence early. Jaylin Fordham provided a spark off the bench by knocking down a pair of three-point shots as the Britons seized their largest lead of the day, 22-11, midway through the first half. Albion settled for a six-point cushion, 35-29, at halftime.
Chicago reeled off a 10-2 run over the first 2 ½ minutes of the second half to overtake the Britons, 39-37. The Maroons seized their largest lead of the second half when Blaine Crawford hit a jumper to make the score 45.39.
It was a milestone day for Herron, who achieved his third double-double of the second with a season-high 20 points and 11 rebounds. The senior who prepped at Holt High School moved into sixth place on the school's all-time rebounding list and went over 900 points for his career. His career totals stand at 910 points and 645 rebounds.
Ryan reached double figures for the fourth time this season, finishing with 16 points.
"Chicago is a championship caliber team," May said. "We gave them everything they could handle. This result should prove that we can win these games if the players believe in themselves, their teammates and the program."
Smith led Chicago with 19 points. Voss and Perez joined him in double figures with 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Albion will have a week off to celebrate the holidays. The Britons return to action with Dec. 29-30 games in the Purple and Gold Tournament at Defiance College.