ANGOLA, Ind.-- Tight defense and superb free throw shooting paced Trine to a 66-55 victory over Adrian in a key MIAA-matchup Wednesday night in Hershey Hall.
The Thunder connected on 33-of-37 free throws (89 percent). The 33 makes were the third-highest in a game in team history. A tight defensive effort saw Trine hold the Bulldogs to a 17-of-42 effort from the floor (40 percent). Jared Holmquist (Reed City, Mich./Reed City) played a strong all-around game, filling the stat sheet with 18 points, nine rebounds, four blocks and three assists. Rickey Jackson scored 26 points on an 8-of-14 effort from the field, including 5-of-7 from three point range to lead Adrian. The Thunder improved to 14-6 overall, and remain in a tie for first-place in the MIAA with Calvin with a 7-2 league mark. The Bulldogs fell to 7-13 overall, 5-4 in conference play.
Trine's free throw shooting proved particularly crucial in the second half, as the Thunder hit 24-of-26 (92 percent) from the charity stripe after halftime. All five of Trine's starters played the entire second half.
A 15-4 Thunder run to open the game set the tone as Trine never trailed in the contest. Jake Bagley (Van Wert, Ohio/Van Wert) knocked down a pair of threes to help pace the hot start. Ellis Cummings (Ottawa Hills, Ohio/Ottawa Hills) added a highlight-reel worthy dunk. Trine would lead by as much as 12 in the first half.
Adrian started the second half on 14-6 surge to knot the score at 36-apiece early in the second half. The Thunder hit right back with nine-straight, capped by a Syroka three that made the score 45-36 with 11:46 to play. Adrian closed the deficit back to two, but Trine rattled off eight straight to take a 55-45 lead with 3:11 remaining. The Bulldogs got no closer than eight the rest of the way.
Trine hosts Kalamazoo this Saturday, Feb. 6. Tip-off is slated for 1 p.m.