CHICAGO, ILL. -- The Trine University men's basketball team wrapped up the 2017 calendar year with a trip to Chicago, Ill. for a non-conference game against Illinois Institute of Technology, but fell to the Scarlet Hawks by the final score of 65-56.
Illinois Tech (9-3) jumped out to a quick 5-0 advantage, but Trine (4-7) came right back with a three-pointer by junior Pete Smith (Bristol, Ind./Northridge) and a jumper by fellow junior Myles Copeland (Perrysburg, Ohio/Toledo St. John's) to even the game at 5-5.
Trailing by two points shortly after, Trine went on a 9-2 scoring run that ended with a layup by sophomore Langston Johnson (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Central) and resulted in a five-point edge for the Thunder, 14-9, with 14:46 to go in the first half. Trine later equalled its largest lead of the period when Illinois Tech went on a 7-0 run of its own to regain the lead, 18-16, at the 10:01 mark.
The two teams then traded leads until the home team took control for good on a layup with 8:30 remaining despite the Thunder knotting the game twice in the final minutes of the half that included a 28-28 tie with just over three minutes to go thanks to a layup by junior Marcus Winters (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic). The Scarlet Hawks then ended the period by outscoring the Thunder, 7-3, to take a four-point margin into the locker rooms, 35-31.
Trine pulled to within a point twice in the early minutes of the second half, but a 10-0 run by Illinois Tech gave the Hawks the breathing room they needed with a 46-36 lead with 13:15 to go in regulation.
The 10 straight points would be too much for the Thunder to overcome as Trine got no closer than seven points the rest of the way. Sophomore Jason Clune (Meadville, Pa./Meadville) scored the final points for Trine, and the game, on one-of-two free-throw attempts, but the home team came away with a 65-56 victory.
Both teams shot about even for the game with the edge going in favor of Illinois Tech who shot 38.2 percent (21-of-55) to Trine's 34.4 percent (22-of-64) shooting. The Hawks took advantage of its 20 attempts to the charity stripe, converting 17 for 85.0 percent (17-of-20).
The Thunder had one player score in double figures in Johnson who finished with 16 points while shooting 50.0 percent (six-of-12) overall, including 40.0 percent (four-of-10) from three-point range. Clune was the next leading scorer with nine points and had a team-tying high seven rebounds. Copeland tied Clune in rebounding with seven boards.
Trine will travel to Holland, Mich. to begin Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association play with a matchup against Hope College on Wednesday, Jan. 3. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m.