ANGOLA, IND.-- A superb defensive effort led Trine's men's basketball team to a 64-59 victory over Kalamazoo in MIAA action Wednesday evening in Hershey Hall.
The Thunder held the Hornets, who entered the contest as the top scoring team in the MIAA at 82 points per game, to 23 points below their season average. Trine entered the game as the top defensive team in the league. Highlighting the defensive effort was the Thunder's work on MIAA-leading scorer Mark Ghafari. The senior guard entered play averaging 27 points per game, but was held to just 13 points on 3-of-12 shooting. Tyler Good (Swanton, Ohio/Evergreen) was a big part of the defensive effort, drawing the bulk of one-on-one matchups with Ghafari. Will Dixon (Indianapolis, Ind./Zionsville) paced four Thunder in double-figures with 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Trine improves to 9-5 overall and 2-1 in MIAA play. Kalamazoo falls to 6-8 overall and is 1-2 in the MIAA.
Nick Tatu (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston) notched 15 points for the Thunder, doing most of his damage from long distance with four treys. Good chipped in 13 points on the offensive end. Todd Watkins turned in a clutch second half performance offensively, scoring all 10 of his points in the game's biggest minutes. The Thunder shot 36 percent from of the field overall (20-of-56).
Chase Baysdell led the Hornets with a double-double, scoring 15 points to go along with 13 rebounds. Adam Peters added 12 points and six boards. Adam Dykema rounded out Hornets scoring in double-figures with 10 points. Kalamazoo shot 38 percent on the evening (24-of-63).
Trine never trailed in the contest and got off to a hot start, scoring the first seven points of the game. A three by Tatu and a pair of layups by Jared Holqmuist (Reed City, Mich./Reed City) paced the hot start. That would match the largest lead of the half for the Thunder as the two teams played virtually even the rest of the half, which concluded with Trine holding a 32-28 lead.
The Thunder pushed the lead as high as 10 in the second half, but that didn't come until 3:44 remained in the contest. Watkins provided key offense in the half, showing off a nice mid-range jumper and taking the ball to the rack for his points.
Kalamazoo pulled within five on numerous occasions in the game's closing minutes, but the Thunder had an answer. After the Hornets cut the score to 57-52 with 42 seconds remaining, Good broke ahead of the press for a two-fisted dunk. A late layup by Peters cut the score to 62-59 with nine seconds left, but a pair of free throws by Tatu put the game out of reach. Trine hit 14-of-19 free throws overall (74 percent), including 8-of-10 in the final 1:06.
Trine will look to extend their MIAA-winning streak to three when they travel to Alma this Saturday, Jan. 18. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.