ANGOLA, IND. -- The Trine University men's basketball team started the 2018-19 season on a winning note with a 76-67 victory against Illinois Institute of Technology in the season and home opener at the MTI Center.
Trine shot 46.9 percent (30-of-64) as a team and had four players score in double figures, led by junior Maurice Hunter (Monroe, Mich./Monroe) who had 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the double-double. Senior Pete Smith (Bristol, Ind./Northridge) scored a game-tying high 19 points, all in the second half, and scored 15 of those points from three-point range. He also grabbed eight boards. Senior Myles Copeland (Perrysburg, Ohio/Toledo St. John's) was third in scoring with 16 points and junior Langston Johnson (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Central) rounded out the high scorers with 13 points.
The two teams swapped leads during the majority of the first half with neither team leading by more than four points for most of the period. Illinois Tech (0-1) led by four points, 20-16, with 4:13 to go in the half when Trine (1-0) ended the period with a 14-4 scoring run that swung momentum in favor of the Thunder who led at halftime by a score of 30-24. Hunter and Copeland combined for 12 of the team's 16 points during the run with Hunter scoring eight points and Copeland adding four points.
Trine never trailed in the second half, but the Scarlet Hawks battled to within three points, 42-39, with 15:51 to play as part of a 6-0 mini run. The Thunder responded with a string of eight straight points that included back-to-back three-pointers by Smith, and gave the home team its first double-digit margin of the contest at 11 points, 50-39, with 14:21 remaining.
Illinois Tech only got to within five points the rest of the way as the lead eventually grew back to double figures for Trine en route to the 76-67 final.
Trine will play its next four games away from the MTI Center, beginning with a neutral site matchup against Kenyon (Ohio) College on Friday, Nov. 16 in its first game of the two-day Albion (Mich.) College Tournament. The game against the Lords is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. in Albion, Mich.