Senior Langston Johnson (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Central) scored a career-high 31 points to help lead the Trine University men's basketball team to an 80-78 victory against the University of Mount Union that was aided by a layup in the final seconds in non-conference action at the MTI Center in Angola, Ind.
Fellow senior Marcus Winters (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) drove to the basket as time was ticking down in the second half and connected on a floater that banked in off the backboard with 2.4 seconds remaining in regulation that ultimately sealed the victory for the Thunder by the final of 80-78.
Langston Johnson scored 17 of his career and game-high 31 points in the first half and shot 13-of-23 overall for the game (56.5 percent) and was also five-of-eight (62.5 percent) from three-point range. In addition to his 31 points, Langston Johnson also had five assists.
Langston Johnson was one of three Trine players to score in double figures that included Winters who finished second on the team with 17 points to go along with a team-high six helpers. Junior Jake Daniels (Grand Blanc, Mich./Holly) rounded out the high scorers with 12 points.
Trine (3-2) began the game by outscoring Mount Union (2-2), 9-2, in the first three-and-a-half minutes and maintained a five-point edge, 14-9, at the 14:37 mark. The Purple Raiders then went on a 7-0 scoring run to record their first lead of the contest at 16-14 with just over 11 minutes to go in the first half.
The lead change was of one six between the two teams the remainder of the half with neither team leading by more than six points which was a 28-22 advantage for the Thunder following a layup by freshman Brent Cox (Kendallville, Ind./East Noble) at the 6:27 mark. Mount Union then rallied again with another 7-0 run to move back ahead on the scoreboard by a point, 29-28, with 5:18 left.
Trine later regained the lead and took a four-point margin into the locker rooms on a half that ended with a three-pointer by Langston Johnson as time expired and made it a 38-34 game at the break.
The seesaw battle continued between the two squads in the first six minutes of the second half. Winters started off the period with a jumper that gave Trine a six-point lead, but Mount Union came right back and eventually took a four-point lead, 52-48, with 14:23 left to play. A three-pointer by sophomore Bryce Williams (Archbold, Ohio/Archbold) then sparked an ensuing 15-0 run for Trine over the course of the next four minutes that resulted in a double-digit lead for the Thunder of 11 points, 63-52, at the 10:36 mark.
The lead hovered around the double figure mark for majority of the remainder of the half until late in the period when the Purple Raiders made a final rally and erased the deficit to tie the game at 78-78 with just 24 seconds left in regulation. Following a timeout by Trine, Winters got past his opponent enough to get a running shot off that hit the backboard and dropped into the basket to put the Thunder in front, 80-78.
Mount Union managed to get a last second shot attempt away from just behind its three-point line, but the shot attempt was just a bit too strong and bounced off the back side of the rim as the game clock hit zeros and gave Trine the victory, 80-78.
Trine will remain home to host Anderson (Ind.) University on Wednesday, Dec. 4 at the MTI Center. The two teams are set to tip-off at 7 p.m.
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