ANGOLA, Ind. – Jamezell Davis, Jr., got friendly bounces off the backboard and the front of the rim and that lifted Albion College to an 87-85 victory over Olivet College in a Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Men's Basketball Tournament semifinal game at the MTI Center.
Albion improved to 18-8 and advances to the 5 p.m. Saturday title game against regular season champion and top seed Trine University.
Albion led most of the way and as many as 15 midway through the second half.
Olivet scored on five of six possessions as it went on a 13-4 run to cut the margin to 74-69 with 5 ½ minutes left.
Chase Brocker knocked down a 3-point basket to pull Olivet within three with three minutes left.
Davis made a pair of free throws to keep Albion ahead by three, 84-81, with 18.5 seconds left.
Olivet took the lead as Toriano Jackson hit a pair of free throws and got a steal on a double team in the backcourt, leading to Brocker's layup that put Olivet ahead 85-84 with 2.8 seconds left.
"There's nothing you can draw up to hit a half-court shot and we had a lot of luck with that," Head Coach Jody May said. "We wanted to space guys out to get space on the floor, and you put the ball in your best player's hands. I would have liked Jamezell to have gotten closer. Normally, you can get about three dribbles with 2.8 seconds. I think he only took two."
Davis, an all-MIAA first team pick, matched his career scoring high of 31, but he had 24 of those before Olivet came back in the final nine minutes. Davis finished the day 9-of-13 from the field, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range. He also dished out five assists.
"Jamezell was as good as I've seen him play in the first half," May said. "Olivet did a good job of changing defenses and confusing us in the second half. They made it hard to get good looks.
"To their credit, they kept driving to the basket and we were fouling," May added. "For 35 minutes we had a great plan and we did everything right, but we didn't do anything right the last five minutes."
Quinton Armstrong led the Briton frontcourt with 17 points and 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. He pulled down an important offensive rebound that led to a layup by ArShawn Parker that kept the Britons ahead, 78-73, with two minutes left.
Caden Ebeling, Albion's other all-MIAA first team pick, and Parker added 10 points apiece. Parker dished out eight assists before fouling out with 1:18 to play.
All five Olivet starters scored in double figures. Tracy Edmond led the way with 20 points. He also contributed nine assists.
- Albion shot 53 percent (30-of-57) from the field against Olivet. The Britons have connected on 55 percent of their shots (66-of-121) over the last two games.
- Albion has advanced to the MIAA Tournament title game for the first time since 2005, a 63-59 loss to Calvin.
- Albion has lost the last three times it advanced to the MIAA Tournament championship game. The Britons came up short against Defiance College, 75-72 in overtime, in 1999 and to Hope College, 61-48, in 2003.
- Albion's last MIAA Tournament championship was 1998, a 56-55 victory at Hope.