The Trine University men's basketball team defeated Alma (Mich.) College, 82-79, in a quarterfinal round game of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament at the MTI Center.
The Thunder had four players score in double figures, led by senior Maurice Hunter (Monroe, Mich./Monroe) who had a game-high 22 points on nine-of-15 shooting (60.0 percent). He fell a rebound shy of a double-double after grabbing a game-high nine boards. Senior Langston Johnson (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Central) was second in scoring with 18 points to go along with seven rebounds.
Senior Jake Daniels (Grand Blanc, Mich./Holly) was third with 13 points and knocked down three triples. Freshman Brent Cox (Kendallville, Ind./East Noble) rounded out the high scorers with 11 points.
Trine (15-11) fell behind early by five points, but an ensuing 8-2 scoring run by the Thunder that ended in a layup by Hunter, gave Trine a one-point edge, 13-12, at the 14:16 mark. A few minutes later, the Scots (13-13) regained a slight advantage, but Trine then went on another run, this time a 12-4 margin which ended in a three-point pull-up jumper by Daniels and gave the home team a six-point margin, 27-21, with just under nine minutes to go in the first half.
Later in the period, Trine matched its six-point advantage following two free-throws by Langston Johnson, but six straight points by Alma evened the score at 29-29 with 3:43 to go. The momentum swing shifted again, this time in favor of the Thunder as Trine outscored Alma, 9-1, over the next 2:56 to go up by eight points, 38-30, with 47 seconds remaining before the break.
The final points of the half came on an Alma layup as the two teams went scoreless in the final 44 seconds, but Trine maintained a six-point lead at the intermission, 38-32.
The second half started with a basket by the Scots. Back-to-back layups by Hunter returned the Trine margin to eight points early, 42-34. Alma then went on an 8-0 run to even the game before a layup by Cox ended the streak and gave the lead back to the home team, 44-42, at the 15:18 mark.
Following a timeout, both teams swapped leads on an Alma three-pointer that was followed up by dunk by Hunter to make it a one-point Trine lead, 46-45. The run continued as Langston Johnson connected on a three-pointer and then followed up with a jumper to make it a six-point game, 51-45, with 12:25 left. The Scots battled right back and outscored the Thunder, 20-11, over the next 6:41 to take a three-point lead, 65-62, at the 5:44 mark.
The two teams then went back-and-forth during the next several minutes until a three-pointer by Winters gave Trine the lead for good with a little over three minutes to play. The Thunder led by as many as four points multiple times in the final two minutes, but the Scots kept playing to the end and pulled to within a point with under 20 seconds left. The contest then turned to the free-throw line as the two teams traded freebies down the stretch and kept the difference at one point, 80-79, as the game clock wound down. With Trine ahead by one on the scoreboard, Hunter added an explanation point a few seconds before time expired with a dunk to help send Trine to an 82-79 victory and advance to the MIAA Tournament semifinals.
Trine advances to take on top-seeded Albion (Mich.) College on Friday (Feb. 28) at Kresge Gymnasium in Albion, Mich. The two teams are set to tip-off at 8 p.m.
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