First-Half Struggles Continue as TU Drops Top-15 Tilt


UPLAND, Ind. –Taylor could not get anything going in the opening half for the second-straight game and trailed by 20 at the break to No. 3 Saint Francis in an eventual 87-72 home loss on Tuesday evening.


USF (10-2, 4-0 CL) attacked the Taylor defense relentlessly throughout the opening stanza, getting to the paint routinely and piling up a 24-4 advantage on points in the post while also burying four-of-six looks from the perimeter.


The Trojans could not keep pace against the Cougar defense, as TU went just two-of-15 from inside the arc in the half and was forced to settle for five makes in 16 tries from deep.


The offensive woes led to TU connecting on just one field goal during a decisive 11:30 stretch of game action in which Saint Francis ran off a 26-5 spurt. The Cougars used the run to deliver the knockout blow by turning an 11-11 tie at the 14:00 mark into a 37-16 gap with 2:30 remaining in the half.


Taylor turned it around on the offensive end during the second half, pouring in 51 points on 60.6-percent shooting but could not slow USF or make a serious run before eventually falling by the 15-point spread.


USF put all five starters in double figures and assisted on 18-of-33 buckets, while netting 54 points in the paint and posting a 41-30 edge on the glass.


Taylor ended the contest at 42.2 percent from the field and 33.3 percent in 24 tries from beyond the arc. Mason Degenkolb posted a strong second-half to finish with a team-high 16 points and four assists, while Keaton Hendricks scored 15, Ryan Robinson added 14 and Jake Heggeland closed with 11 points and three blocks.


No. 12 Taylor (8-3, 1-3 CL) will take a break from league play to host Great Lakes Christian on Friday at 6:00 pm in the 21st-Annual Silent Night Game.