DEFIANCE, Ohio – Albion College nearly pulled off a remarkable rally Monday night. The Britons worked to cut a 23-point first-half deficit to a single point, but they walked off the court frustrated after absorbing a 76-73 setback to Marietta College in the consolation game of the Purple & Gold Financial Tournament.
Albion, which landed in the consolation game after a 50-48 loss to Defiance College on Sunday, can only take the knowledge that it can stand toe-to-toe with the best teams it will encounter when Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association play begins in January. The Britons' journey through its league rivals begins with a Jan. 8 date at Kalamazoo College.
"We can play with anybody," Albion Head Coach Jody May maintained. "We played 60 minutes of really good basketball (in this tournament), but we can't be satisfied with playing with the best teams. We had several chances to win the games both nights. The difference between going 2-0 in this tournament and finishing 0-2 was only a possession or two."
The Britons would make only five more shots from the field over the remaining 17:40 of the first half as Marietta built a 46-23 lead in the final minute.
"I told the team there were no 21-point baskets," May said of his message at halftime. "I told the team Marietta is not going to slow the pace and if we could defend them like we're capable of we would have a chance to get back in the game."
Marietta still held a 21-point lead six minutes into the second half, but May's halftime message proved prophetic when the Britons ran off a 13-2 rally. Carter Elliott dropped a pair of free throws and the Britons trailed 59-50 with 9 ½ minutes to play.
The teams traded baskets for two minutes until Albion made its next run. Ridgell sparked a 12-2 run with a layup and a 3-point basket. Albion had a chance to forge a tie at 69, but Herron missed the second of two shots from the free throw line.
The Britons had two more opportunities to forge ties, but they misfired on a 3-point shot and from the free throw line.
Herron finished with 22 points and nine rebounds to achieve a place on the all-tournament team. It was his second 20-point game of the season.
Ridgell, who was 5-of-7 from the field, was Albion's other double figure scorer with 15.
Marietta had four players score in double figures, led by RaNeal Ewing with 16.