OLIVET, MICH. -- The Trine University men's basketball team fell short of defeating Olivet College in a semifinal game of the 2018 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament, 78-71, hosted by the Comets at Cutler Event Center in Olivet, Mich.
Trine led by four points at halftime and maintained a slim 64-63 margin with seven minutes to go in regulation, but an ensuing 12-2 scoring run by Olivet swung momentum in favor of the Comets who held on for the 78-71 final to end the Thunder's season.
The Thunder were led by junior Myles Copeland (Perrysburg, Ohio/Toledo St. John's) with 28 points on 10-of-21 shooting (47.6 percent), including eight-of-11 (72.7 percent) at the free-throw line. Sophomore Maurice Hunter (Monroe, Mich./Monroe) was second with 16 points and junior Pete Smith (Bristol, Ind./Northridge) was third at 14 points with 12 of his points coming from behind the three-point line.
Hunter began the scoring with back-to-back layups to give Trine (12-14) an early 4-0 lead en route to having an 11-4 advantage at the 16:49 mark following a jumper by Copeland. Trine never trailed for the remainder of the first half and led by as many as 14 points as the result of a 14-3 scoring run that included a streak of 10 unanswered points, to make the score, 27-13, with 8:34 to go in the period.
Olivet (16-10) then began to rally and battled back to make it a one-possession game, 35-33, with under a minute to go. Copeland scored the final points of the half on a jumper with seven seconds remaining and increased the Trine lead to four points, 37-33, at halftime.
The edge stayed in favor of Trine in the early minutes of the second half until the 18:24 mark when the Comets took their first lead of the game, 42-41. A layup by Copeland, followed by a triple by Smith, regained the lead for the Thunder, 46-42, at the 16:25 mark.
The two teams then traded leads with neither team leading by more than four points until the 5:15 mark when Olivet scored seven unanswered points while already leading by two points, to take a nine-point margin, 75-66, with 58 seconds to go. Trine pulled to within six points, 77-71, with 34 seconds left following a three-pointer by Johnson, but that would be a sclose as the Thunder got as an extra free-throw by the Comets in the final seconds ended the scoring and gave Olivet a 78-71 victory.