TU Turned Away at No. 2 IU East
RICHMOND, Ind. – Playing in its sixth road game in 12 days and its third against a NAIA Top-10 foe in that stretch, Taylor battled to a 65-62 lead at No. 2 IU East late in the contest before a surge from the hosts gave TU an 87-77 defeat.
The Trojans used a hot start to the second half to erase a seven-point halftime deficit against the Red Wolves (4-2) and drew even at 54-54 on a triple from Vincent Miranda to cap a 20-13 stretch over the opening 6:14 of the period.
TU moved ahead when Ryan Robinson found an open Mason Degenkolb in the corner for a three-ball and a 63-62 lead as the game inched under the nine-minute mark. Miranda pushed the spread to 65-62 with a pair of free throws at the 7:29 mark to cap a quick 11-3 burst for the Purple and Gold.
IU East responded with nine-straight points in a stretch fueled by a pair of Trojan turnovers to reclaim the lead, and eventually rolled off a 21-4 rally over the next 6:27 to flip the three-point TU lead into the largest spread of the evening at 83-69 with 1:02 to play.
Taylor got trifectas from Robinson and Degenkolb in the final minute, as well as a hoop from James McCloud, but it was not enough to close the gap.
TU was outscored by a 44-24 margin in the paint in the contest and a 17-7 mark off turnovers. The Red Wolves also shot it in at a 51.6-percent rate, compared to a 43.3-percent clip for Taylor.
Robinson paced the Trojans in scoring with yet another 20-point game, this time ending with 21 points on four-of-nine shooting from beyond the arc. Degenkolb followed with 17 points, six assists and five rebounds, with Miranda closing with 13 points. The pair of Degenkolb and Miranda combined for 23 points in the second half and each made three-of-six looks from deep.
Jake Heggeland and James McCloud each continued their strong play of late, boosting the Trojans in the post. Heggeland had 10 points and two blocks, while McCloud finished at seven points and five boards.
Taylor (1-5) will play just its second game of the season in front of the Odle Arena crowd on Thursday, when it hosts Wright State-Lake (3-5) in a 7:00 pm tilt.