JOLIET, Ill. – Following a tough loss on Thursday night, the ONU men’s basketball team had an opportunity to respond with a win in a conference game. The Tigers traveled and played the University of St. Francis (Ill.) on the road on Saturday, January 5. After a nip-and-tuck first half, the Saints were led by a 41-point effort by guard Chris Miller to take control in the second half to win 76-66.
Only five minutes in, the Tigers (7-9, 5-7) led 13-4 after a quick start. However, over the next five minutes ONU only managed two points and let the Saints (11-6, 7-4) tie the game at 15. St. Francis led until the 1:31 mark and by as many as five with 3:23 to play. The Tigers went on a quick 10-3 run to end the half and take a two-point lead.
In the first half, Olivet shot 15-for-32 from the field (46.9 percent), 1-for-5 from the three-point line (20 percent) and 2-for-2 from the free-throw line (100 percent). They outrebounded the Saints 23-14 and committed seven turnovers. St. Francis shot 35.5 percent from the field, 30.8 percent from the three-point line and 83.3 percent from the free-throw line. The Saints committed five first-half turnovers and had four offensive rebounds.
The second half started out in the Tiger’s favor as ONU got out to a seven point (52-45) lead with only 13:05 remaining, but Chris Miller came alive scoring 16 of their next 18 points to give the Saints a four-point lead with 6:31 to play. Olivet had trouble stopping him all night, especially during the Saints 18-7 run. The closest the Tigers were able to get it was four only a minute later, but failed to keep any closer and fell by 10.
Senior Jake Boyce (Lockport, Ill.) led the Tigers with 18 points on 8-for-11 shooting and 2-for-2 from the free-throw line. He added five rebounds and five assists in 31 minutes.
Freshman Aaron Larson (Tolono, Ill.) finished with 12 points on 4-for-9 shooting from the field and 4-for-6 from the free-throw line. He also had 10 rebounds in 30 minutes, good for his third double-double of the year.
Senior Ben Worner (Washington, Ill.) finished with 10 points on 4-for-12 shooting from the field and 2-for-5 from the three-point line. He added five rebounds in 34 minutes.
Chris Miller led the Saints with 41 points on 15-for-22 shooting from the field, 6-for-10 from the three-point line, and 5-for-6 from the free-throw line. He added five rebounds and four assists in 34 minutes. Billy Hubly finished with 13 points on 4-for-9 shooting and three rebounds in 30 minutes. Mark Peters added six points and two rebounds.
Overall, the Tigers shot 27-for-60 from the field (45 percent), 4-for-13 from the three-point line (30.8 percent) and 8-for-11 from the free-throw line (72.7 percent). They outrebounded St. Francis 37-32, committed 15 turnovers and totaled 23 assists, and had 11 offensive rebounds.
St. Francis, meanwhile, shot 25-for-57 from the field (43.9 percent), 10-for-23 from beyond the arc (43.5 percent) and 16-for-24 from the free-throw line (66.7 percent). The Saints had 15 assists, 12 turnovers, nine offensive rebounds and six steals.
Worner has made 156 career three-pointers, good for 12th all-time. Worner is one behind Josh Bronke for 11th (157).
ONU will return to action on Tuesday, January 8, at home against conference opponent Trinity International University (Ill.) starting at 7:30 p.m.