The Trine University men's basketball team played tough against Albion (Mich.) College to the very end, but would fall short in the final seconds as the Britons came away with a 66-62 victory against the Thunder in a key Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association game in Albion, Mich.
Trailing by four points, 60-56, with under 30 seconds to go, a three-pointer by Trine senior Jake Daniels (Grand Blanc, Mich./Holly) cut the deficit to a point. Albion then extended the margin to three points thanks to a pair of free-throws after the Daniels triple. Daniels was fouled on another three-point attempt on the Thunder's ensuing offensive possession to go to the charity stripe with a chance to tie the game. Daniels connected on all three freebies to deadlock the game at 62-62 with 12 seconds remaining. Following timeouts by Albion, the Britons scored on a layup with five seconds to go to move ahead, 64-62.
After the Albion layup, senior Marcus Winters (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) took a three-point shot attempt, but the shot missed its mark and landed in the hands of an Albion player who was then fouled and made both free-throws to seal the four-point victory.
Daniels led all Trine players in scoring with 16 points on five-of-nine shooting (55.6 percent) and had three triples on the night (three-of-seven overall). Freshman Mitchell Geller (Huntington, Ind./Huntington North) was second in scoring with 11 points and was among the team leaders in rebounding with four boards.
The duo of senior Langston Johnson (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Central) and freshman Brent Cox (Kendallville, Ind./East Noble) both added 10 points to round out the high scorers. Langston Johnson was also the team's leading rebounder with five boards.
Albion (20-4, 11-2 MIAA) tallied the first two baskets of the night to grab an early four-point lead. Trine (13-11, 7-6 MIAA) then scored five unanswered points thanks to a layup by Cox and a three-pointer by Daniels to give the Thunder a one-point edge, 5-4, at the 17:57 mark. The five straight points were part of a larger, 11-1, scoring run that saw Trine lead by six points, 11-5, with 16:15 to go in the first half after a triple by Langston Johnson.
The Britons came right back, however, to even the score and took a 16-12 advantage as part of an 11-1 run with just under 10 minutes remaining in the period. The score remained close between the two teams the rest of the half as neither team led by more than three points, but it was Albion who'd take a slim advantage into the locker rooms, leading 30-29.
Trine got the scoring started in the second half with five straight points to move back ahead on the scoreboard, 34-30, in the early minutes. The Thunder lead later grew to six points multiple times, including a 45-39 margin after a three-pointer by Langston Johnson at the halfway point of the second period.
Later in the half, Trine maintained a seven-point advantage, 55-48, thanks to a layup by Daniels with 5:24 to go when Albion began to make a run by outscoring the Thunder, 12-1, to go up by four points, 60-56, with under a minute remaining. Trine would battle back to even the game in the final seconds, but ultimately fell short with a final score of 66-62.
Trine will wrap-up the regular season when it hosts Hope (Mich.) College on Saturday, Feb. 22 in a MIAA contest at the MTI Center. The game will also be senior day for the Thunder with tip-off scheduled for 3 p.m.
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