Since 1990, the Albion College men’s basketball team has had only one losing record. Opening the 2008-2009 season however, the Britons went 5-5 in non-conference play and dropped their first two games against MIAA teams. Jody May, rookie head coach, knew he would face challenges in his first season behind the bench, but he faced more hardships when three players were placed on the inactive list. Chris Farr, Walled Lake junior, David Bunn, Lansing senior, and week seven MIAA Player of the Week Drew Yancey, Okemos senior, are all out with injuries.
“(Sitting and watching) has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” Farr said.
After Farr saw his team open league play with back-to-back losses, the Britons have won seven of eight. Currently, Albion is third in the MIAA, only behind Calvin and Hope.
“I’ve been really lucky. It is a great group of guys,” May said. “We have seven seniors who have been through it before.”
The senior class has combined to score over 900 points in the 2008-2009 season. With only three wins separating third place Albion from the three way tie for seventh place, the Britons have won clutch games against Adrian, Trine, Olivet and Hope, all of which were decided by three points or less.
“They’re (the senior class) what keeps the team together,” said J.C Cruse, Detroit sophomore. “I don’t know where we would be without them.”
Overcoming adversity and with the team intact, the Britons were able to improve their 0-2 start in conference to a current record of 7-3. Much of Albion’s scoring has come on defense. The Briton’s have the highest scoring defense in the MIAA.
“Earlier in the season our offense dictated how we played,” May said. “We may not always be able to control our shots, but we can always control what we do defensively.”
Even with their league losses, Albion has held their MIAA opponents to seventy points or less in all except three games. Second place Hope College averages 79 points per game, but on their Feb. 4 victory, Albion held Hope to 68 points.
“I think our defense has been good because we’ve had it ingrained into us since we’ve been into Albion,” said Robbie Clark, Clarkston senior.
Left in the regular season, Albion will faceoff against Kalamazoo, Calvin and Alma before entering in the MIAA tournament. The Britons will try to seek vengeance after last year’s upset against the Knights. After sweeping Calvin in the regular season, the Knights knocked out Albion in the semi-finals of the MIAA tournament. To secure home court advantage in the opening round, Albion must lock in the third place seed.
“Our league is very balanced this year,” May said. “We aren’t looking ahead at the tournament. We just want to concentrate on the game ahead.”