ANGOLA, Ind. – The Trine men's basketball team earned a comeback victory over Olivet, 71-66, in MIAA action on Senior Night in Hershey Hall.
The Thunder fought back from double-digits, earning the victory after trailing by as much as 12. A 15-2 run second-half run gave Trine the lead, and the Thunder were able to hold on in the late minutes with clutch defensive plays. Trine improved to 13-11 overall and 8-5 in the MIAA. The win allowed the Thunder to move into third in the MIAA. Olivet falls to 9-15 overall and 5-8 in conference play. The loss eliminated the Comets from postseason contention.
Will Dixon (Indianapolis, Ind. / Zionsville) was at his best in the final home game of his career, pacing the Thunder with 27 points and six assists. Dixon's six assists tonight gives him 300 career assists, tying him with Brandon Appleton (2001-05) for eighth in program history. Dixon concluded the game with 1,759 points. He needs 29 points to pass Ian Jackson for most in the Division III era (2004-present) and to move into the top five in scoring in program history.
Kyle Dodson (Centerville, Ohio / Centerville) added 15 points for the Thunder and helped on the defensive side with four steals. Adison Daub (Corunna, Ind. / DeKalb) also reached double figures in his last home game with 10 points. He also dished out five assists.
Ellis Cummings (Ottawa Hills, Ohio / Ottawa Hills) added eight rebounds and four blocks. He now has 43 blocks on the season, fourth-most in team history. Cummings' active work on the glass helped keep numerous opportunities alive for Trine's 10 offensive rebounds.
Eric Ewing led Olivet with 25 points and nine rebounds. Ewing shot 6-of-8 from three-point range. Kevin Woodson added 15 points and Zach Walker reached double figures with 10 points.
A a 15-2 run over a span of 4:14 gave Trine its first lead over Olivet since the early minutes of the first half..Daub's steal at the seven-minute mark led to a layup to give the Thunder a 58-57 lead. A Dixon three and a Dodson layup capped the run and gave Trine the 63-57 lead with 5:34 to play.
A Woodson three cut the score to 67-66 with 1:35 to play before the Thunder came up with several huge defensive plays down the stretch. Dixon denied the Comets the chance to take the lead with a steal with 25 seconds left. He knocked down a pair of free throws to put Trine up three. After an Olivet timeout, the defense came up big once again as active hands led to a Dodson steal. Dixon's free throw made it a two-possession game, and another forced turnover and a Daub free throw sealed the victory.
In the first half, three-point shooting was the difference as Olivet shot 60 percent (9-of-15) from the three-point line. Ewing hit four of his threes in the first half. In the closing minutes Olivet took the lead by double digits going into the second half, 37-26. Senior Adam Ciszewski (Sacramento, Calif. / Bella Vista) scored six of his points in the first half on a pair of threes for the Thunder.
The men's basketball team honored its four seniors tonight, as they played their last home game of their careers at Trine. The seniors class is made up of Dixon, Ciszewski, Luke Wenger (Howell, Mich. / Livingston Christian) and Daub.
The Thunder returns to action Saturday Feb. 18 when it travels to Albion for the last game of the regular season. Trine controls its own destiny as a victory would give the Thunder the number three seed in the MIAA Tournament. A loss could force a number of tiebreak possibilities. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Article courtesy Cody Konieczki, Trine University, Communications New Media '17