No. 8 Knights Hold Off Upset-Minded Trojans

 

UPLAND, Ind. – Taylor turned in another crisp showing on Wednesday but fell just short of another win over a team in the NAIA Top-25 Poll, this time pushing the eighth-ranked Marian club throughout in a 79-74 defeat.

 

The contest was a defensive struggle in the early going, with the two sides even at 19-19 by the 7:19 mark of the opening half. A 14-5 stretch by Marian (17-5, 8-3 CL) over the next 3:47 opened a 33-24 lead and the hosts took a 37-30 edge to the intermission.

 

TU hung around in the first stanza despite shooting one-of-10 from distance, thanks to only turning the ball over four times and assisting on seven-of-11 hoops.

 

The Trojans got their offense rolling in the second and rode the surge to a 49-46 lead by the 13:41 point of the period. Back-to-back triples from Mason Degenkolb and CJ Penha brought TU within a point, before a trey from Ryan Robinson knotted the score and a three-point play from Vincent Miranda capped the 12-2 stretch that put the Purple and Gold in front.

 

MU responded immediately, rattling off a 12-2 run of its own to reclaim a seven-point cushion but five-straight points from Penha brought Taylor right back to within a single point with just over five minutes to play.

 

The game remained a single-possession affair, until Marian free throws pushed the lead to four with just over two minutes remaining and the Knights held on for the 79-74 victory.

 

Robinson scored 18 of his team-high 24 points in the second half and connected on 10-of-15 shots in the game. Degenkolb followed with 20 points and four assists, with James McCloud adding 10 points to go with six rebounds and Jason Hubbard recording 10 rebounds and five blocks.

 

Taylor rode Robinson’s hot shooting over the final 20 minutes, hitting 50.0 percent of its looks after the break and finished the night with 14 assists to only eight turnovers,

 

Marian got just enough to stay on top however, holding a 10-point advantage from the free throw line with 22 makes in 25 attempts to turn away TU’s hopes of a fourth win over a team ranked or receiving votes in the NAIA Top-25 Poll since the turn of the calendar.

 

Taylor (12-11, 4-7 CL) will get another crack at a Top-25 foe on Saturday, February 1, when it welcomes No. 11 Bethel (19-4, 7-4 CL) to Paul Patterson Court for a 3:00 pm start.

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Taylor Men’s Basketball All-Time Scoring Leaders at a Glance

1 – Jim Bushur (1985-88) – 2213
2 – Casey Coons (2009-13) – 2138
3 – Forrest Jackson (1950-54) – 2059
4 – Eric Ford (2002-06) – 2023
5 – David Wayne (1988-92) – 1905
6 – Chuck Taylor (1965-69) – 1897
7 – Ralph Gee (1983-87) – 1816
8 – Steve Mozingo (1990-94) – 1790
9 – Mason Degenkolb (2016-Pres) – 1749
10 – Dale Miller (1987-91) – 1717
11 – Gary Friesen (1971-75) – 1690
12 – Greg Jones (1976-79) – 1677
13 – Jay Teagle (1986-90) – 1668
14 – Ryan Robinson (2016-Pres) – 1666
15 – Doug Bell (2003-06) – 1571