NAPERVILLE, Ill. – Albion College was bounced from the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship in a 75-64 loss to Loras College in a first round game at Gregory Arena.
Albion, the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament champion, finishes the season at 19-9. It's the most wins in a season since the 2007-08 squad went 19-6 and finished second in the MIAA.
"We have some talented guys (returning for next season), but we're not here without our seniors," May said. "The leadership they provided and the culture they created put us in this position. The little things is why we won so many close games. It's encouraging to work with these guys in the future, however my challenge to them is to keep the same culture and be the best version of yourself the next couple of years."
Loras hit four 3-point baskets to power a 16-4 run and the Duhawks led 36-18 with five minutes remaining in the first half.
Facing an uphill climb, Quinton Armstrong scored a pair of baskets to pull Albion within 12 (38-26) at halftime.
Head Coach Jody May assured the Britons they would make a run, and they did. Zachary Winston knocked down a pair from the line and he assisted on Armstrong's layup. Armstrong added two more from the line as the Britons trailed 62-55 with four minutes left.
Albion had a chance to cut into the deficit even more, but it misfired on three shots on its next possession.
Loras slammed the door on the Britons, getting baskets from Ryan DiCanio and Josh Ruggles in the closing moments. Ruggles led all players with 19 points.
"They made a run on us and after that we started grinding it out and we got fairly close, but they would always make a big shot," May said. "They made the run with some transition 3-point baskets, but they had a hard time scoring in the half court. That was a credit to our defense."
Armstrong, who emerged as a presence in the frontcourt for the Britons in the stretch run, finished with 18 points and nine rebounds. Nathaniel Collins, one of six Briton seniors, was the other double figure scorer with 12.
Winson, who logged 20 minutes in a game for the first time since December, stuffed the box score with nine points, five rebounds and three assists.
Senior Jaylin Fordham also produced nine points for Albion.
- Loras averages 91 points per game, but Albion was able to frustrate the Duhawks in the half court set.
- Fordham finished his Albion career with 909 points