ANGOLA, IND. -- The Trine University men's basketball team battled back from a 15-point deficit in the second half and pulled to within five points late, but could not get over the hump as the Thunder fell, 81-70, to Olivet (Mich.) College in a Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association game at the MTI Center.
Olivet shot 56.9 percent for the game (33-of-58) with nearly half of its shots coming from three-point range where they converted 10-of-25 attempts (40.0 percent). Trine shot 45.3 percent (23-of-64) overall, but was just six-of-20 from long range (30.0 percent).
Individually for Trine, senior Myles Copeland (Perrysburg, Ohio/Toledo St. John's) led the team in scoring with a game-tying high 25 points on 10-of-19 shooting (52.6 percent) and had seven rebounds. Senior Pete Smith (Bristol, Ind./Northridge) also scored in double figures with 15 of his 21 points coming from behind the arc to round out the high scorers.
In addition, junior Langston Johnson (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Central) had a career-high 10 assists.
The two teams traded leads for the majority of the first half. Trine (8-5, 1-1 MIAA) led by a point, 19-18, with 8:18 to go in the period when Olivet (5-8, 1-1 MIAA) went on an 11-3 scoring run to jump out to an eight-point advantage, 29-21, with just under two-and-a-half minutes remaining before halftime.
Baskets by senior Ellis Cummings (Ottawa Hills, Ohio/Ottawa Hills) and Copeland got Trine to within four points, 29-25, but the Comets tacked on a three-pointer to cap the scoring in the half and take a 32-25 margin into the locker rooms.
Olivet came out of the break to begin the second half with an 8-3 run and quickly extended its lead to 12 points, 40-28, at the 18:05 mark. The Comets eventually went on to lead by as many as 15 points multiple times, including a score of 61-46 with 12:39 to go in regulation.
Trailing by 14 points with a little over eight minutes left, a triple by Smith sparked a streak of nine straight points for the Thunder to cut the deficit to five points, 68-63, with 5:29 remaining. Olivet answered the run with back-to-back three pointers to push the margin back to double figures, 74-63, at the 4:23 mark.
The Comets led by double digits the rest of the way en route to claiming the 11-point victory, 81-70.
Trine will play its next game on the road against Adrian (Mich.) College on Wednesday, Jan. 9 in Adrian, Mich. The two teams are scheduled to square off at 7:30 p.m.