GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. -- In a game that had 12 ties and 10 lead changes, the Trine University men's basketball team emerged as the winners in an 81-78 contest against Calvin (Mich.) College in Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association action at Noord Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich.
As a team, the Thunder shot an impressive 58.5 percent (31-of-53) for the game which included 54.5 percent (six-of-11) from three-point range. Four players scored in double figures for Trine with senior Langston Johnson (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Central) leading the way with a game-high 23 points on eight-of-14 shooting (57.1 percent), including four-of-five (80.0 percent) from three-point range. Senior Maurice Hunter (Monroe, Mich./Monroe) was second in scoring with 17 points and had a game-tying high seven rebounds.
Senior Marcus Winters (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) scored 16 points to go along with seven rebounds and a game-high seven assists. Freshman Brent Cox (Kendallville, Ind./East Noble) completed the list of players in double digits with 15 points.
Calvin (8-7, 2-2 MIAA) jumped out to an early 10-4 lead in the first 2:42 and would eventually lead by eight points shortly after, 16-8, at the 15:59 mark. A layup by Cox then started a run of 14 straight points by the Thunder to swing momentum and the lead, 22-16, with under 10 minutes to go in the half.
The carousel of runs continued as an ensuing 11-2 run by Calvin regained the lead for the Knights, 27-24, at the 5:32 mark. But three straight made baskets by Trine put the Thunder back ahead on the scoreboard by four points, 31-27, with just under four minutes remaining before the break.
The Knights battled back to take a one-point edge, 34-33, in the latter minutes before one-of-two free-throws by Cox tied the game again, this time at 34-34 with 1:21 on the clock. The final points were scored by the home team on a successful three-pointer to make it a 37-34 game at the intermission.
A triple by Langston Johnson to begin the scoring in the second half was the start of a 12-0 run by the Thunder to regain the lead which later grew to 10 points, 53-43, with 14:46 left in regulation following another three-pointer by Langston Johnson. Calvin continued to answer any Trine attempt to pull away as the Knights outscored the Thunder, 17-6, over the next 7:45 to claim a 62-61 lead with under six-and-a-half minutes to go.
A Winters' layup, followed by two free-throws by Langston Johnson, put Trine ahead by three points, 65-62, but a three-point play by Calvin tied the game for the ninth time with 5:25 to play. Neither team led by more than three points the remainder of the contest which included a 75-72 advantage for Calvin at the two-minute mark.
Trine took what turned out to be the final lead with a little over a minute left on a three-point play by Langston Johnson that was part of a larger 7-1 run that made the score, 79-76, with just a few seconds to go. Calvin capitalized on a pair of free-throws to make it a one possession game, 79-78, but would still be forced to foul in hopes of a last second shot attempt. Winters then found himself at the charity stripe for a pair of critical attempts with Trine leading by a point. Winters connected on both attempts and the final shot attempt by the Knights that could have tied the game as time expired, missed its mark as Trine went on to win by the final of 81-78.
The Thunder will play their next two games at home starting with a matchup against MIAA opponent Olivet (Mich.) College on Wednesday, Jan. 22 at the MTI Center. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.
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