Penha Reaches 20-Point Plateau For Seventh Straight Contest, But Trojans Fall To RV Grace On Senior Day
UPLAND, Ind. – CJ Penha became the third Trojan in the last nine years, and the second this season, to score at least 20 points in seven straight games on Saturday afternoon at Odle Arena. However, Penha’s tremendous performance did not translate to a win, as RV Grace used a 30-14 run over the final 9:34 of the contest to hand Taylor its fourth straight defeat, an 81-67 loss, on Senior Day.
Penha joins teammate Jason Hubbard (Dec. 14, 2020-Jan. 20, 2021) and Casey Coons (Jan. 10-Jan. 31, 2012) as one of three Trojans to accomplish the feat since the 2011-2012 campaign. The Pickerington, Ohio native was locked in from the opening tip, collecting his sixth double-double of the season with 24 points and 11 rebounds. The junior knocked down nine of his 16 field goal attempts and two-of-five looks from beyond the arc.
Additionally, the Trojans ran their streak of having at least one 20-point scorer to 14 games in the afternoon matinee.
Prior to tip-off, James McCloud and Vincent Miranda were honored and recognized for their contributions to the Taylor men’s basketball program. In his final home game at Odle Arena, McCloud scored 10 points and collected five rebounds, while Miranda finished with six points on a pair of threes in the first half. Miranda needs just 11 points to become the Trojans’ 46th player in program history, and third this season, to reach the 1,000-point milestone.
The two Crossroads League rivals battled toe-to-toe over the first 30 minutes of the contest, with neither team leading by any more than four points during that stretch. While the Trojans shot just 13-of-34 (38.2 percent) in the opening 20 minutes, Penha’s 13 first-half points kept Taylor in the contest as Grace (14-10, 7-8 CL) took a 31-30 advantage into the halftime break.
The game remained close over the first 10:52 of the second half, and a Grant Niehaus bucket with 9:24 to play put the Trojans up 53-51. However, the Trojans went cold offensively, missing seven straight shots and failing to score a point over the following 5:15. The Lancers took advantage, using a 16-0 surge to turn a two-point deficit into a double-digit lead, one they would not relinquish.
A Penha triple finally broke the Trojans’ scoreless drought with 4:11 to play, but Taylor never got any closer than 11 points the rest of the way.
Grace shot lights out in the second half, finishing 17-of-26 from the field (65.4 percent), while dominating in the paint throughout the course of the afternoon, outscoring the Trojans 54-28 underneath the basket. Conversely, the Trojans shot just 14-of-36 (38.9 percent) in the final 20 minutes and 27-of-70 (38.6 percent) for the game.
Hubbard rounded out Taylor’s double-digit scorers with 12 points and eight rebounds, while Kaden Fuhrmann added eight points.
TU (11-12, 5-10 CL) will wrap up its regular season schedule on the road against RV University of Saint Francis (19-7, 6-7 CL) next Saturday, Feb. 20. Tip-off is scheduled for 1:00 pm.