Whitewater, Wisc. - Cole Kleiver (Williamston, Mich. / Williamston) scored 35 points and shot 62.5-percent from the field as the Alma College men's basketball team fell 101-97 to No. 12 Wisconsin-Whitewater on Saturday (Dec. 8) evening.
Kleiver was one of four Scots to score in double figures — Kyle Woodruff (Grand Blanc, Mich. / Holly) posted 18 points, including five threes, Kevin Gamble (Mt. Pleasant, Mich. / Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart) tallied 17 and Ryan Stevens (Lowell, Mich. / Lowell) added 13 and 10 assists.
Melvin Brown led the Warhawks (7-0) with 29 points and eight rebounds. Malik Clements put up 20.
The Scots (0-7) held a six-point lead with 1:49 remaining, but the Warhawks scored the final six points to force overtime. Alma missed three free throws and had a turnover down the stretch while UW-Whitewater hit a string of layups and free throws late in the game to seal the win.
Both teams' offenses were in sync; Alma shot 50.8-percent from the field, UW-Whitewater shot 48.6-percent. Alma also shot 50-percent (18-of-36) from three-point range, its best mark of the season.
How It Happened
- Alma took an early seven-point lead at the start of the game, but Whitewater worked its way back into the game to eventually take a two-point lead with under six minutes remaining in the half. The two teams battled for the lead over the rest of the frame, swapping it five times until halftime. Kleiver hit two threes in the Scots' last two possessions to give them a one-point lead at the break.
- The two teams continued to trade the lead throughout the second half with Alma finally taking command with a nine-point lead at the 11:26 mark. It maintained that advantage for over four minutes until the Warhawks slowly started to chip away. Alma held a six-point lead with 1:49 remaining but allowed the Warhawks to score the next six points. With the score 87-85 and 24 seconds left in regulation, Stevens was called for a charge on the offensive end, then again for a reach-in on the next possession. Melvin Brown would hit both free throws to tie the game and Kyle Woodruff (Grand Blanc, Mich. / Holly) missed a game-winning three as time expired.
- In overtime, Kleiver scored Alma's first four points but the Scots struggled after that. The Warhawks went on a 9-1 run to take control — Alma turned it over once and missed its only shot from the field as well as three free throws during that span. Whitewater's David Sachs missed a layup with 35 seconds left but the Warhawks got the offensive rebound and Alma was forced to foul. Melvin Brown made both free throws to seal the win.
- The two teams combined to shoot 14-of-18 from the field over the final 7:29 of regulation.
- Alma shot 1-of-4 in the overtime until Woodruff's three at the buzzer; UW-Whitewater was 4-of-7.
- Not only was 50-percent shooting from deep Alma's season-high, its 18 made threes is also a season-high.
- Cole Kleiver's scoring total is tied for 11th most in program history.
- Kleiver also grabbed a career-high eight rebounds.
- All of Alma's starters played at least 35 minutes with Ryan Stevens playing all 45 minutes.
- Stevens posted at least 10 assists for the fourth time in his career.
- Alma led for 74-percent of the game.
What He Said
"I can't say enough about how resilient this team is. Even though it was a loss, we gained incredible confidence tonight in going against a team with that level of strength and athleticism. We finally broke out of our shooting slump, and hopefully, that can continue. If maybe a few things down the stretch that are out of our control go our way, that would probably be a different outcome. I'm very, very proud of these guys tonight."
- Head Coach Sam Hargraves
Alma has 10 days before its next game. It will travel to Mesa Community College to face Sul Ross State on Tuesday, Dec. 18 and No. 5 Whitman on Wednesday, Dec. 19. Both games are at 2:00 p.m.