ALBION, Mich.-- Trine came out on top of a defensive duel, defeating Albion 45-44 in MIAA-action Wednesday night at Kresge Gymnasium.
A late 7-0 run was the difference down the stretch, as the Thunder erased a four-point deficit in the final 2:46 and held on to earn the victory. Jared Holmquist (Reed City, Mich./Reed City) scored 14 points and added 10 rebounds for the double-double. The junior has notched back-to-back double-doubles, and has five on the season. Corey Wheeler scored 16 points to pace the Britons. Trine improved to 16-8 overall, 9-4 in the MIAA. The Thunder tied their best win-total for a single season since joining NCAA Division III in 2004, and also tied their best mark for MIAA wins in a season. Albion fell to 12-12 overall, 5-8 in conference play.
Neither team led by more than seven into the closing minutes. The Thunder faced a 42-38 deficit with 2:46 to play before the deciding run.
Jake Bagley (Van Wert, Ohio/Van Wert) earned Trine an extra possession off a miss and Ben Syroka (Toledo, Ohio/Whitmer) made the most of it, knocking down a three to cut the deficit to one. Syroka finished the game with 11 points and knocked down two of his three attempts from long range.
The Thunder forced an empty possession, and Holmquist gave Trine the lead on a layup with 1:15 to play. After the Thunder forced another miss, Will Dixon (Indianapolis, Ind./Zionsville) scored on a layup with 14 seconds left to give the Thunder a 45-42 lead. Dixon also finished the night with 11 points.
Robert Ryan hit a pair of free throws for Albion, but Trine ran out the clock to earn the one-point victory.
Trine shot 38 percent from the field (17-of-44), while the Britons hit 15-of-49 (31 percent). Both teams were held to over 20 points below their season scoring averages. The two teams entered as the top two defensive programs in the conference this season.
The Thunder return to action this Saturday, Feb. 21 when they host Olivet at 1 p.m. on Community Day. Admission to the game is free for all fans. A victory would give Trine the no. 2 seed and a home game in the upcoming MIAA Tournament.