BEXLEY, OHIO -- The Trine University men's basketball tean nearly came back from trailing by as many as 14 points in the second half, but ultimately fell short of Ohio Wesleyan University, 74-71, to conclude play at the Capital University Tip-Off Classic at The Capital Center in Bexley, Ohio.
Senior Marcus Winters (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) was one of four Trine players to score in double figures and led the Thunder with a career-high 20 points on nine-of-11 shooting (81.8 percent) and also had a game-high five assists. Junior Jake Daniels (Grand Blanc, Mich./Holly) was second in scoring with 19 points and connected on five triples in the game (five-of-13 overall).
Senior Langston Johnson (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Central) was third with 16 points and sophomore Mitchell Geller (Huntington, Ind./Huntington North) was fourth with 12 points to go along with a game-tying high seven rebounds.
Both teams played a competitive first half with neither team leading by more than six points with one tie and four lead changes. The two teams traded leads in the early minutes of the first half with Trine (1-2) recording its largest lead of four points with a score of 11-7 following back-to-back baskets by Winters and freshman Brent Cox (Kendallville, Ind./East Noble).
Ohio Wesleyan (1-1) responded with an ensuing 8-0 scoring run to swap momentum in its favor and took a four-point lead of its own, 15-11, and led the remainder of the period. The Battling Bishops increased their lead to five points, 22-17, with under 10 minutes to go before halftime en route to leading by as many as six points with a little more than a minute-and-a-half remaining by a score of 32-26.
Geller tallied the final points of the half with a pair of free-throws for the Thunder to make it a four-point game at the break, 32-28.
OWU opened the second half with an 8-2 run to post its first double-figure lead of the game at 10 points, 40-30, with 18:21 left in regulation. The Bishops looked to put some distance between them and the Thunder by maintaining a double-digit advantage for a good portion of the first 12 minutes of the half.
Trine narrowed the gap to single figures multiple times during that span, but found itself down by 14 points, 63-49, with 8:31 left to play. The Thunder then began to make a run as a layup by Geller sparked a string of nine unanswered points to pull Trine to within five points, 63-58, at the 4:30 mark.
Trine stayed within striking distance and battled back to make it a one-point contest, 72-71, following a three-point play by Langston Johnson as part of a 6-0 mini run. After a pair of successful free-throws by OWU to extend the margin to three points, the final shot attempts for Trine in the final nine seconds all fell shy of their mark allowing the Bishops to hang on for the three-point victory.
Trine will play its next three games at home starting with a matchup against Muskingum (Ohio) University in the home opener at the MTI Center next Saturday, Nov. 23. The game is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.