Tied 29-29 at intermission, the Alice Lloyd College Eagles broke open the game with an explosive second half performance en route to defeating the Berea College Mountaineers 76-57 in a big conference matchup. The KIAC showdown was held Thursday night at Berea.
In the opening half, the Eagles came out of the gate as cold as the weather outside. They had some good looks on offense, but just could not seem to find any type of rhythm.
The one saving grace for ALC in the first stanza was their team defense. Since they could not find the range on the offensive side, Alice Lloyd refused to let the Mountaineers get hot from the floor and take the lead. When the buzzer sounded for intermission, the score was knotted up at 29 apiece.
When asked about his club’s first half performance, Eagles Head Coach JR Hammond replied, “I felt we were able to get some nice shots out of the offense that just didn’t drop. However, we kept playing hard and used our defense to keep the game close.”
In the second half, things started out much better for the Eagles, as they looked to attack the Berea zone inside behind the muscular shoulders of big man Terry Muse. Muse played like a man possessed in the second half, sinking several shots in the paint on offense and creating havoc on defense by either blocking or altering at least a dozen Mountaineer attempts.
With Muse controlling the contest on the defensive side, it fueled the Eagles’ fast break on offense and permitted them to get several transition buckets. With Alice Lloyd now able to open up the game, they pulled away to a double-digit lead. From that point, they were never threatened again as they earned the big road victory.
ALC (9-7, 1-1 KIAC) had five players to reach double figures. They were paced by sophomore Isaac Wilson with 22 points. Wilson’s total included 10-12 from the charity stripe. Junior Shawn Thompson tossed in 13 points and added 5 rebounds, while senior Casey Dalton contributed 12 points. Junior Brent Hall and Muse each chipped in with 10 points in a balanced attack.
Muse really filled the stat sheet, as the sophomore recorded the first double-double of his career. In addition to his scoring, he also led all players by corralling a game high of 10 rebounds. He also added 6 big blocks to complete a yeoman’s effort. The blocks are no big surprise as he leads the nation in that category by averaging over 3 per outing.
Berea (6-11, 1-1 KIAC) was led by 13 points from guard Harry Cross.
On the night, the Eagles shot 47% from the floor, but they connected on 55% in the second half. They also held BC to 34% shooting overall, but limited them to a frigid 26.8% in the decisive final half. In addition, ALC also won the all important battle of the boards 44-35.
After the game, a victorious Coach Hammond was asked what turned the game around for Alice Lloyd. “We opened up the second half by making an offensive adjustment, and were able to find Terry inside early for some quick baskets.” He added, “Also, I was pleased with our defense in the first half, but we actually picked up our intensity in the second half. This helped us to get into a faster tempo, which led to big buckets on the offensive end.”
When asked about Muse’s big effort, the Eagles’ mentor said, “I was really pleased with the play of Terry. He really stepped up for us on both ends of the floor. His game is really improving, and his hard work definitely paid off tonight.”