ANGOLA, IND. -- Trine University men's basketball overcame a 13-point deficit to force overtime, but fell just short against Adrian (Mich.) College, 74-67, in a Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association game at the MTI Center.
The matchup between the two schools was the first game played in the new building for the men's basketball team.
Trine trailed by six points at the half and then outscored Adrian, 35-29, in the second period to force overtime where the Bulldogs pulled ahead to take the seven-point victory. Trine (6-8, 2-1 MIAA) led by a point, 9-8, at the 13:40 mark of the first half when Adrian (12-2, 3-0 MIAA) began to distance itself on the scoreboard with an ensuing, 6-0, scoring run to take a five-point margin, 14-9, with 10:33 left in the period.
The Thunder then cut the deficit to a point thanks to a pair of free-throws by sophomore Langston Johnson (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Central) and a layup by fellow sophomore Maurice Hunter (Monroe, Mich./Monroe), making the score 14-13. But the Bulldogs recaptured momentum with nine straight points as part of a larger 14-2 run to record their largest lead of the game of 13 points, 28-15, with 3:26 to go before halftime.
Trine whittled the margin down to single digits to end the half by outscoring the visitors, 9-3, in the final minutes to make it a 31-25 game at the intermission.
The seesaw battle continued in the second half as Trine pulled to within a point again early on following a layup by junior Sean Corcoran (Flint, Mich./Powers) for a 34-33 deficit. But Adrian took control again with 12 straight points to equal its largest lead of the game, 46-33, with 11:20 to go in the game.
Trine kept the game from getting too far out of reach and worked its way back to lead, 53-52, on a three-pointer by Johnson with 2:25 remaining. The lead was the Thunder's first since the 13:40 mark of the first half. The two teams then went back-and-forth with the lead changing hands three times in the last 36 seconds that included a mid-range jumper by junior Pete Smith (Bristol, Ind./Northridge) to give Trine a 60-59 advantage with seven seconds left.
Adrian wasted no time attacking the basket and forced a Trine foul that sent the Bulldogs to the free-throw line with three seconds remaining in regulation and made one-of-two free-throws to tie the game at 60-60. Trine had the final shot attempt on a half-court heave, but the attempt hit the front of the rim, sending the game into overtime.
Johnson began the overtime period with a three-pointer to put Trine out ahead early, 63-60. The offense then went cold as missed shots gave Adrian a chance to go on a 10-1 run to regain the lead for good and lead by six points, 70-64, with under 30 seconds on the clock. After another made triple by Johnson that cut the deficit in half, the Bulldogs put the game away at the free-throw line with four straight free-throws to go on to the 74-67 victory.
Trine had a slight edge in the overall shooting category as the Thunder shot 44.1 percent (26-of-59) for the game, including 51.9 percent (14-of-27) in the second half, but just 28.6 percent (two-of-seven) in overtime. Adrian ended the game shooting 43.1 percent overall (25-of-58) with one of the differences in the game for the Bulldogs coming from long range where they shot 47.8 percent (11-of-23) from behing the arc.
Johnson led the Thunder in scoring with 23 points on eight-of-19 shooting (42.1 percent). Hunter was the second highest scorer with 13 points to go along with a game-tying high eight rebounds. Rounding out the leading scorers was Smith with 12 points in addition to grabbing five boards and dishing out a game-high six assists.
Trine will hit the road and travel to Grand Rapids, Mich. to take on Calvin College in a MIAA contest on Saturday, Jan. 13. The game is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.