ANGOLA, IND.-- Trine picked up a statement win Tuesday night, upsetting sixth-ranked Ohio Wesleyan in thrilling fashion, 87-82 in Hershey Hall.
A 10-0 run midway through the second half put the Thunder ahead, and Trine withstood a late 17-5 Battling Bishop run to hold on for the upset. Will Dixon (Indianapolis, Ind./Zionsville) tied a career-high with 32 points, which came on an efficient 13-of-20 performance from the floor. Dixon knocked down 3-of-7 from long distance and added five assists. The Thunder shot 59 percent on the night (32-of-54), forced a team that entered the night committing the third-fewest turnovers per game in the nation into 18 miscues. Trine was able to convert those mistakes into 31 points. The Thunder improve to 5-2 on the season. Ohio Wesleyan falls to 7-1.
Jake Bagley (Van Wert, Ohio/Van Wert) provided a huge lift for Trine, tying a career-high with 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting in a season-high 30 minutes. The senior added four rebounds and four steals. Jared Holmquist (Reed City, Mich./Reed City) notched 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Ben Syroka (Toledo, Ohio/Whitmer), Tyler Good (Swanton, Ohio/Evergreen), and Adison Daub (Corunna, Ind./DeKalb) each added eight points. Syroka dished out a career-high six assists.
Claude Gray led four Battling Bishops in double-figures with 29 points on 10-of-17 shooting. Gray connected on 7-of-10 from long distance. Ben Simpson added 17 points and hit 6-of-9 from the field. Nate Axelrod scored 10 points and dished out seven assists, but committed five turnovers. Axelrod entered the game with a 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Ohio Wesleyan shot 55 percent from the field (28-of-51), including a 14-of-24 (58 percent) effort from long range. The Battling Bishops eneted the game averaging 12.9 made threes per game, third in the nation.
The Battling Bishops came out firing on all cylinders and looked poised to take control early, as they hit their first nine shots from the field to open up a 23-14 lead at the 12:35 mark. OWU connected on four threes during that stretch. Overall, the Battling Bishops hit 12 of their first 13 field goals in opening up a 29-20 lead midway through the first half.
Trine was able to climb back within 43-41 at the half, due in large part to holding OWU to 2-of-13 shooting the rest of the half. Ohio Wesleyan shot 62 percent from the field in the first half.
The two teams traded blows early in the second half, until Trine went on a 10-point run to take the lead for good. Good broke a 55-55 tie with a driving layup, which Dixon followed with jumper from the wing. Back-to-back transition threes by Dixon and Bagley put the Thunder up 65-55 with 12:54 to play.
The Thunder were later able to push the lead to double-digits when Dixon hit another three to make the score 75-63 with 6:39 to play. Trine would lead by as much as 14 at 79-65 with 3:59 remaining.
The Battling Bishops did not go quietly, as OWU ripped off a 17-5 run to cut the score to 84-82 with 1:08 left. The Bishops connected on four treys during that stretch, including a three-and-one from Gray to cut the OWU deficit to two.
Syroka drew a foul on the other end and connected on a pair of free throws. After a missed three by Gray, Dixon split a pair of free throws and Trine forced a miss at the other end to go home with the victory. Trine was excellent once again from the charity stripe, knocking down 14-of-18 attempts (78 percent).
The Thunder were able to hold OWU to 48 percent shooting (12-of-25) in the second half after the hot start.
Trine will visit another tough non-conference foe when they travel to North Park this Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. CST. Note that the tip-off time has been rescheduled from the previous 4 p.m. CST start time.