ANGOLA, IN - The Trine University men's basketball team advanced to the championship game of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association tournament after an 83-69 win against Calvin University at the MTI Center.
Junior Nick Bowman led all players in scoring with 29 points on nine-of-19 shooting (47.4 percent) from the field, including going nine-of-10 at the free-throw line (90.0 percent). Junior Bryce Williams was second in scoring with 11 points and freshman Emmanuel Mengnanglo added 10 points and also grabbed a team-tying high five rebounds in addition to a game-high four blocked shots.
Trine (16-0) began the game by outscoring Calvin (7-4), 15-2, and led by double figures for the majority of the first half. Leading by 11 points with a little under five minutes to go in the period, a jumper by junior Reese McGinsie and three-point play by Mengnanglo gave Trine its largest lead of the half of 16 points, 34-18, with three minutes to go. The Knights ended the half on an 8-3 run, but the Thunder still maintained a 37-26 advantage at the break.
Calvin began the second half with a layup to cut the deficit to single digits, 37-28, but a bucket by sophomore Brent Cox began a 10-2 run for the Thunder that extended the margin to 17 points, 47-30, with 16:44 to go. Trine later equaled its 17-point margin with 15:21 remaining after a jumper by Mengnanglo when Calvin made its run with 11 unanswered points to pull to within six points, 50-44, at the 13-minute mark.
After a timeout by Trine, the Thunder struck for two quick baskets thanks to consecutive layups by Bowman and Cox that put the home team up by 10 points, 54-44, with a little over 12 minutes on the clock. A couple of minutes later, Trine put the game away by outscoring Calvin, 15-2, over the course of two-and-a-half minutes to take a 22-point lead, 71-49, following one-of-two free-throws by Cox.
Approaching the final minutes of the game, two free-throws by junior Aiden Warzecha resulted in Trine's largest lead of the contest of 23 points, 83-60, en route to the Thunder claiming an 83-69 victory and advance to the conference tournament title game for the third straight year.
Trine will host Albion College for the tournament championship on Saturday, Mar. 6 at the MTI Center. The game is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.