PITTSBURGH, Pa.-- The Trine men's basketball team earned an 87-68 victory over Chatham in the opening game of the Carnegie Mellon Invitational, held Saturday in Skibon Gymnasium.
Will Dixon (Indianapolis, Ind./Zionsville) exploded for 31 points to lead four Thunder in double-figures. The junior was on fire all afternoon, hitting 12-of-16 from the field, including 3-of-4 from long distance. Dixon has now topped the 30-point mark five times in his career. Isaiah Brown came off the bench to score 18 on 8-of-14 shooting to lead the Cougars. Trine improved to 3-1 overall and advances to the championship game of the tournament. Chatham, a first-year program, fell to 0-4 on the season. The Cougars are the first team the Thunder have faced this season that does not have a winning record.
Ellis Cummings (Ottawa Hills, Ohio/Ottawa Hills) had a career-best game all around, scoring 12 points and adding 12 rebounds for his first career double-double. The sophomore's previous career-highs were six points and seven rebounds. Cummings is shooting 64 percent from the field in the early going this season.
Jared Holmquist (Reed City, Mich./Reed City) filled the stat sheet with 16 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. He moved into third on Trine's all-time list in blocked shots with 88 in his career. Holmquist is now six rebounds from become the school's leader in rebounds in the Division-III era (2004-present). Scott Rogers (2009-13) is the leader in that time frame with 558 career boards.
Kyle Dodson (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) continued his strong freshman debut with 17 points. He knocked down 4-of-7 attempts from three-point range. Dodson has hit three or more threes in every game this season.
The Thunder shot a season-best 54.8 percent from the field (34-of-62). The Thunder held a 41-21 rebounded edge and scored 17 second-chance points.
Trine got off to a slow start and faced a 12-6 deficit just under eight minutes into the contest. That didn't last long however, as the Thunder hit back with a 17-2 run over a span of 4:32 to open up a 23-14 lead with 8:00 to play in the first half. Cummings provided the muscle inside with seven points during that run, while Dodson added a pair of threes.
A 17-5 close to the first half opened up a lead that would not shrink to single-digits the rest of the way. The Trine defense held the Cougars to just two buckets over the final 6:35 of the first half. Dixon began to heat up, bringing his first half scoring total to 18 points. He knocked down seven of his first 10 shots. Cummings had his double-double prior to the midway point of the contest with 12 points and 11 rebounds in the first half.
The Thunder would go on to lead by as much as 26 in the second half as back-to-back threes by Dodson and Dixon pushed the score to 64-38 with 12:56 to play. Chatham would not seriously threaten the rest of the afternoon.
Trine will face undefeated Carnegie Mellon (4-0) in tomorrow's championship game. The Tartans defeated Elmira, 72-53 to advance to the championship game. Tip-off is slated for 3 p.m.