KALAMAZOO, Mich. – In the absence of sophomore Adam Meier due to injury, senior forward Sean Gallant stepped up his frontcourt production in a 70-62 loss at Kalamazoo on Wednesday. Gallant snared a career-high 18 rebounds (previous 11 rebounds) and scored 20 points for the third time this season. In addition, he collected his third straight double-double and fifth of the season. Gallant went 8-of-15 from the floor and also had three assists in 37 minutes.
The Hornets exacted revenge after the Bulldogs won 77-46 earlier this season and did a lot of damage at the free throw line. Adrian was whistled for 22 fouls compared to just eight for the Hornets. Kalamazoo went 20-of-30 at the stripe while Adrian was just 4-of-6. Mark Ghafari went 1-of-8 with five points in the first meeting, but responded with 5-of-9 (3-of-6 3 FG) shooting with 15 points in 37 minutes. Eric Fishman led all scorers with 22 points going 5-of-11 from the floor and 10-of-14 from the foul line in 35 minutes.
The Hornets built a 35-22 halftime lead shooting 50 percent (13-of-26) from the floor including 4-of-8 from the arc. Adrian went 10-of-31 including 2-of-7 from the arc in the first 20 minutes. Adrian showed a little spark coming out of the halftime break and cut the deficit to 40-38 at the 15:20 mark after a Gallant layup. Fishman responded with a big triple which started an 11-3 run for the home team capped off by another Fishman bomb. Kalamazoo (7-17, 4-9) never let Adrian get too close for the rest of the game as the Bulldogs got as close as 63-58 with 2:43 remaining.
Adrian made 6-of-11 from deep in the second half and finished 8-of-18 for the contest. The eight triples tied a season-high for Adrian as they made the same amount back on Dec. 29 versus Mount Union. Sophomore Eric Lewis finished with 16 points marking his 23rd game out of 24 this season in double figures. Lewis went 7-of-15 from the floor and also had six rebounds and two assists in 31 minutes. Freshman Ben Rodak scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds before fouling out after 28 minutes in his first collegiate start.
It all comes down now to the regular season finale on Saturday for the fourth and final spot in the upcoming MIAA Tournament. Adrian and Olivet are both 6-7 in the conference and hoping for one more win. Adrian hosts Albion (2-11) at 5:30 p.m. while Olivet plays at Calvin (12-1) beginning at 3 p.m.
The tie-breaker scenarios are as follows in the event of a fourth-place tie should both teams either win or lose: Olivet would host Adrian in a play-in game scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 19 at a time to be determined. An Adrian win and Olivet loss or vice versa ensures the fourth spot in the tournament.
In the case of Trine losing to Hope and there is a three-way tie for third: Olivet owns tie-breaker because of win over Hope and claims third seed while Trine and Adrian would be fourth and compete in play-in game at Trine again on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at a time to be determined. The MIAA Tournament semifinals are set for Thursday, Feb. 21 with the final on Saturday, Feb. 23.