ANGOLA, Ind.-- The Trine men's basketball team gutted out a 51-45 victory over Millikin in the St. Andrews Classic Saturday evening in Hershey Hall.
Will Dixon (Indianapolis, Ind./Zionsville) provided the heavy lifting on offense for the Thunder, scoring 30 points on a 12-of-21 effort from the floor. The performance marked the sixth time the junior has topped the 30-point mark in his career and the second time he has accomplished the feat this season. He is now 19 points shy of the 1,000-career point mark. Tommy Pilackas scored 14 points and added 12 rebounds to pace the Big Blue. Trine improved to 7-1 overall and extended its winning-streak to four games. Millikin's record evened at 5-5 overall.
The Thunder held the Big Blue to a 31.5 percent (17-of-54) effort from the field. Trine entered the contest 26th in the nation in field goal percentage defense and sixth in scoring defense. Millikin held the Thunder to a 36.7 percent shooting clip (18-of-49), which Trine was able to somewhat offset with an 87 percent (13-of-15) performance from the free throw line.
Jared Holmquist (Reed City, Mich./Reed City) gutted through an injury to notch his fifth double-double of the season, scoring 12 points and tying his career-high with 17 rebounds. That total is tied for the third-most on record in a game in team history.
Nathan Lovekamp added 12 points off the bench for the Big Blue. Millikin's bench outscored their Trine counterparts by a 14-2 margin.
Dixon started the game on fire and carried the Thunder offensively in the first half. The junior hit his first seven attempts from the floor and 8-of-10 overall on his way to 17 points in the game's first 20 minutes. Dixon scored nine of the first 11 points of the game as Trine opened on an 11-0 run, holding the Big Blue without a field goal over the first 6:12.
Millikin opened the second half on a 10-2 surge to regain the lead at 28-25 in the early stages. Threes by Lovekamp and TJ Griffin paced the hot start.
The game would remain tight into the deciding stretch. Holmquist broke a 39-all tie and gave the Thunder the lead for good with a pair of free throws with 5:03 to play. Two more free tosses by Holmquist gave Trine a four-point advantage.
The ability of the Thunder to get to the line down stretch proved to be the difference, as Trine scored its final 12 points from the charity stripe. The Thunder held the Big Blue to 1-of-6 shooting and forced two turnovers in the final 5:03. Millikin scored four of its final six points from the free throw line.
Trine concludes the St. Andrews Classic tomorrow with a matchup against 6-2 Wisconsin-Oshkosh. The Titans defeated Adrian in game one of the Classic this afternoon. Tip-off is slated for 3 p.m.