CHICAGO, ILL. -- The Trine University men's basketball team opened the 2019-20 season with a victory following a 75-71 decision against Illinois Institute of Technology at the Keating Center in Chicago, Ill.
Trine (1-0) had three players score in double figures led by senior Langston Johnson (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Central) who scored 23 points on 10-of-18 shooting (55.6 percent) in addition to having a game-high seven assists. Newcomer, freshman Brent Cox (Kendallville, Ind./East Noble) finished just behind Johnson with 22 points and grabbed a team-high six rebounds.
Junior Jake Daniels (Brand Blanc, Mich./Holly) rounded out the high scorers with 14 points.
The Thunder fell behind early and trailed for the majority of the first half that included a 10-point deficit, 18-8, with 13:15 left before halftime. Trine then began to rally and went on an ensuing 9-2 scoring run that included six straight points to end the streak and put the Thunder to within three following a layup by sophomore Mitchell Geller (Huntington, Ind./Huntington North) at the 10-minute mark.
Trine stayed within striking distance and took its first lead of the game with just over four minutes remaining before the break thanks to a jumper by Langston that made the score, 34-33, in favor of the visitors. The lead increased to three points on Trine's next offensive possession after a jumper by Cox, but a 7-0 run by Illinois Tech (0-1) put the Scarlet Hawks back out in front, 40-36, with 1:17 to go.
The final points of the half came off the finger tips of Trine senior guard Marcus Winters (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) who connected on a jumper with 11 seconds on the clock and pulled Trine to within a basket, 40-38, at the intermission.
Trine began the second period with back-to-back baskets to regain the lead that included a Johnson layup to make it a 42-40 game with 19:11 left in regulation. The two teams then continued to go back-and-forth as the second half featured 11 lead changes and 10 ties.
Neither team led by more than four points the remainder of the game which was recorded by ITT who also later led by three points, 71-68, with a little under three minutes on the clock before a 7-0 run by Trine to end the game, sealed the victory for the Thunder. Another jumper by Johnson sparked the run with the Thunder down by three points and ended with a pair of free-throws by Winters to cap the scoring en route to the 75-71 final.
Trine will travel to Bexley, Ohio next Friday, Nov. 15 to take on Capital University in a non-conference game at the Capital Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.