GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. -- Senior Pete Smith (Bristol, Ind./Northridge) hit eight three-pointers and scored 26 points, but it would not be enough as the Trine University men's basketball team fell to Calvin (Mich.) College, 81-76, in a Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association game at Van Noord Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Trine trailed by as many as 14 points in the second half and got back to within three points with seconds remaining in regulation, but could not pull off the comeback as the Thunder fell just short.
Calvin (12-10, 7-4 MIAA) opened the game with an 11-1 run and went on to lead by as many as 13 points multiple times in the first half. Trine (15-7, 8-3 MIAA) worked its way back to within single digits with an eight-point deficit late in the period following a jumper by Myles Copeland (Perrysburg, Ohio/Toledo St. John's) and a triple by Smith that made the score, 39-31, with just under a minute to go before halftime.
The Knights answered with a three-pointer and a basket of their own to end the half and extend the margin back to 13 points at the break, 44-31.
In the second half, Calvin quickly netted its largest lead of the game of 14 points, after a layup by Copeland to begin the scoring for Trine, on a three-pointer that made the score, 47-33, at the 19:35 mark. The Knights then equalled its largest lead nearing the midway point of the half as the result of five unanswered points to lead, 62-48, with 13:16 to go.
Trine began to chip away at the deficit and narrowed the gap to single digits at the 11:39 mark on its way to pulling to within five points, 74-69, with just under four-and-a-half to play after a three-pointer by junior Marcus Winters (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic). But Calvin got a little breathing room by increasing the margin back to eight points on two occasions that included a 79-71 advantage with 53 seconds on the clock.
A pair of free-throws by junior Langston Johnson (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Central) and another tre by Smith, made it a one-possesion game with Calvin leading by just three points, 79-76, with nine seconds to go. But Calvin then put the game away with a pair of free-throws as Trine was forced to foul and the Knights went on to claim the 81-76 victory.
Both teams shot about even across the board as the Thunder converted 48.3 percent of their total attempts (29-of-60) and the Knights shot 46.3 percent overall (31-of-67). Trine converted 52.9 percent (nine-of-17) of its three-point attempts as Calvin went 52.2 percent (12-of-23) from long range.
Individually, Smith scored his team-high 26 points on eight-of-13 shooting (61.5 percent) from the field and eight-of-12 (66.7 percent) from behind the arc. Johnson was second in scoring with 18 points to go along with a game-tying high five assists. Copeland rounded out the double-figure scorers with 11 points.
Winters led the team in rebounding with seven boards in addition to having four assists and five points offensively.
Trine will look to get back on track when it hosts Albion (Mich.) College in a MIAA contest on Saturday, Feb. 9 at the MTI Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.