ALBION, Mich. – Jaylin Fordham dialed up for a 3-point basket from the wing in front of the Albion College bench with 8.3 seconds left in regulation to lift the Britons to a 74-71 victory over Olivet College as Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association men's basketball action started Thursday night.
Fordham, a senior from Flint, Mich., who prepped at Goodrich High School, finished with a season-high 21 points. It was his seventh career game with at least 20 points, but the first since pouring in 27 in a victory at Kalamazoo College on Feb. 6, 2016.
Fordham's stat line included five rebounds, an assist and a pair of blocks.
Albion had misfired on 10 attempts from 3-point range in the second half prior to Fordham's basket. Fordham elevated for the shot after accepting a pass from classmate ArShawn Parker.
"Jaylin is our emotional leader," Albion Head Coach Jody May. "This season means a lot to him and you can tell by how he plays. I was really happy that shot went down, but it's not surprising because he spends more time in the gym than anybody else."
The result nearly became a bitter learning lesson. Albion led by as many as 20 with three minutes remaining in the first half – and it held a 17-point lead at halftime – but the lead melted as it got caught up in some of Olivet's unconventional tactics.
Albion became more tentative on the offensive end as it made only two baskets over the first nine minutes of the second half.
Olivet built a 67-64 lead as Trevor Manuel and Tracey Edmond scored on consecutive possessions with less than five minutes to play.
"We let them dictate and do some funky stuff and we played into their hands by being a lot more tentative," May said. "We let our offensive (struggles) affect what we were doing defensively and that made things easier for them. When they start scoring their defense gets a lot better.
"I told our guys I'm happy we won and that we can't allow outside influences dictate how we're playing and what we're doing," May added. "They called a couple of timeouts early in the second half and it messed with our minds a little bit. We need to maintain a laser focus and play through everything because we can't control what they're doing."
- Albion shot 55 percent (17-of-31) from the field, including 53 percent (8-of-15) from 3-point range in the first half
- Nearly lost was Parker's contribution. The Mumford High School product logged 30 minutes off the bench, producing 10 points, six rebounds, seven assists and three steals. "I think ArShawn was the main reason we got moving in the first half," May said.
- Caden Ebeling achieved his fourth double-double in the last five games, finishing with 11 points and 10 rebounds. He also dished out two assists and blocked two shots
- Jamezell Davis, Jr. and Dylan Bennett did all of their scoring in the first half. Davis finished with 16 (6-of-11 from the field) and Bennett chipped in with 11 (4-of-9 from the field)
Albion (8-4 overall) will play its next two MIAA games on the road, traveling to Adrian College for a 3 p.m. tip on Saturday and a 7:30 p.m. game at Alma College next Wednesday.