Trojans Ride Furious Comeback for 80-78 Overtime Win in Top-15 Classic
UPLAND, Ind. – The first top-15 showdown inside Odle Arena since January 29, 2005 did not disappoint, as No. 15 Taylor erased a 12-point deficit with less than five minutes to play and scored the final 11 points of the night for a thrilling, 80-78, overtime win over No. 9 Indiana East.
The guests led throughout much of the contest, as Taylor struggled to find its shooting touch but the Trojans trailed by just five at the half and stayed within reach until a 12-3 spurt from the Red Wolves (6-2) opened a 71-59 margin with 4:55 to play.
Taylor stopped the run with a flurry of points from Ryan Robinson, but still faced a 10-point deficit with 1:46 left and remained down by nine with 1:17 showing on the clock with IU East holding a 78-69 advantage.
The Trojans mounted a frantic charge over the final 77 seconds, closing on a 9-0 stretch to force the extra period and getting the only two points in overtime to pull out the 80-78 victory.
Taylor held IU East without a field goal over the final 6:57 of the contest and without a point over the final 6:17 and received a much needed jolt on the offensive end from Robinson, who provide 13-of-15 points for Taylor to cut the 12-point gap in half.
Buckets from Mason Degenkolb and Jake Heggeland trimmed the margin to two with 37 seconds remaining and a pair of free throws from Degenkolb tied the contest at 78-78 with three seconds to go.
Heggeland scored again at the 3:43 mark of the overtime period for the lone points of the extra session, as the Trojans improved to 23-3 against non-league foes inside Odle Arena over the last five seasons.
The Trojans found a way despite connecting on just four-of-19 from beyond the arc and shooting 37.3 percent from the field. TU countered the off-night on offense by posting a 52-42 edge on the glass, including 19 offensive rebounds. Taylor also held a 10-point edge in the paint and turned the ball over only four times during the second half and overtime against the IU East pressure defense.
Heggeland posted his second double-double in three outings with 16 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks, as TU improved to 18-4 over the last two seasons when the junior swats at least one shot.
Degenkolb and Hendricks each cracked double figures and combined for 23 points, while Robinson netted a game-high 17 points off the bench to go with four assists and poured in 13 of those points over a 3:20 stretch to spark the comeback.
Evan Crowe matched a career-high with 17 rebounds, while Emmanuel Boateng scored six points to go with two blocks and two steals, Tim Fleming ended with eight points and two steals and Joe Ingersoll chipped in four points and four boards.
The win was TU’s second over a top-10 foe this season and was Taylor’s first home victory over a top-10 team since taking down No. 5 Bethel on December 1, 2015.
No. 15 Taylor (7-0) will open Crossroads League play on Tuesday, November 21 at No. 22 Bethel (7-0) in a 7:00 pm start.