ANGOLA, Ind.-- Trine will host Hope in the MIAA Men's Basketball Tournament Semifinals this Thursday in Hershey Hall.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. The Thunder and Flying Dutchmen will be battling for the right to advance to Saturday night's MIAA Championship, slated to be hosted by the highest remaining seed. The two teams split the season series and tied for second in the MIAA with 10-4 marks in conference play. Trine earned the tiebreak due to their victory over conference regular-season champion Calvin. The two teams have met in the MIAA Tournament each of the last two seasons at Hope, with the Dutch winning both meetings. Trine has never advanced to the MIAA Championship in its 11 seasons as a member of the conference.
Trine is led by Jared Holmquist (Reed City, Mich./Reed City) and Will Dixon (Indianapolis, Ind./Zionsville), the top two scorers in the MIAA in conference play. Holmquist became the second player in team history to win the MIAA scoring title. Dixon has shown the ability to score in bunches, with three efforts of 30-plus points on the season.
Each Thunder starter averaged 33 minutes or more of playing time in conference action. Senior Tyler Good (Swanton, Ohio/Evergreen) was a First-Team All-MIAA selection in 2013-14, while fellow senior Jake Bagley (Van Wert, Ohio/Van Wert) shot 41.9 percent from three-point range in conference play. Point guard Ben Syroka (Toledo, Ohio/Whitmer) sports a 3.2 assist-to-turnover ratio, which ranks among the best marks in the nation.
Harrison Blackledge and Brock Benson give Hope scoring muscle inside as the top two scorers on the team. Blackledge averaged 15.9 points per game in MIAA-play, fourth-best in the conference. Benson shot 65 percent from the floor in conference play.
While Blackledge and Benson give the Dutch scoring inside, Ben Gardner and Alex Eidson provide scoring options from the outside. Both players earned all-conference honors during the 2013-14 campaign and are averaging double-figure scoring again this season. Gardner has shot just under 50 percent from the floor this season.
Versatile senior Dustin Hall (Fort Wayne, Ind./South Side) has given the Thunder big minutes off the bench all season. Chad Carlson, Sam Otto, and Cody Stuive also figure to see significant minutes for Hope.
Each team has ranked in the top 10 of the nation in free throw percentage throughout most of the season. The Thunder have ranked among the top three in the nation in fewest turnovers per game for most of the season, and also rank among the nation's elite in turnover margin.
Trine earned a 65-62 victory over Hope in the first meeting between the two teams this season. The Flying Dutchmen responded with a 73-63 overtime victory on their own home floor.
The winner of Thursday night's game advances to Saturday night's championship game, where they will face Calvin or Alma at 7:30 p.m.
MIAA Students: Free with ID
Non-MIAA Students and All Faculty/Staff: $5 with ID
Any media wishing to attend the MIAA Men's Basketball Semifinals should contact Matt Vader, Sports Information Director, so accommodations can be made. Space is limited at the scorer's table, so please notify of any plans for coverage as soon as possible.
Parking will be available in the east or west lots adjacent to Hershey Hall. There is no charge for parking.
Trine University, One University Avenue, Angola, Indiana 46703
Trine is located in Angola, Indiana, approximately seven miles south of the intersection of I-69 and I-80/90 (Indiana Toll Road).
From US-20/Maumee Street, head south on Summit Drive (follow signs to Trine University Athletic Fields). The east lot of Hershey Hall is located at the end of Summit Drive. To access the west lot, turn right on Park Street.
Please note: Angola observes daylight savings time (EDT). This means that Angola's time is always the same as Michigan and Ohio.