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2014-01-30 ONU claws back against Trinity Christian for third straight win, Wagner has career game
2014 Zach Wagner (2)

Sophomore Zach Wagner scored a career-high 18 points on Thursday against Trinity Christian going 8-for-11 from the field

ONU claws back against Trinity Christian for third straight win, Wagner has career game

Author: Nick Birkey
Posted: Friday, January 31, 2014 at 9:14 AM
2014 Aaron Larson (9)

Sophomore Aaron Larson recorded his eighth double-double of 2013-14 with 25 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, three blocks, and two steals in the Tigers 85-78 win

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. — Trailing by as many as 11 points in the second half to CCAC opponent, Trinity Christian College (Ill.), the Olivet Nazarene University men’s basketball team clawed back and took a double-digit lead before winning 85-78 on Thursday night, Jan. 30. Olivet had five Tigers in double figures, an eighth double-double from Aaron Larson (Tolono, Ill.), and a career-high 18 points from Zach Wagner (Roselle, Ill.) to prevail in a third straight win — and eighth in their last 10. And the Tigers' win was Head Coach Ralph Hodge's 699th career win . He will go for his 700th on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 1. 

Eight minutes into the game, the Tigers (10-11, 8-4) had scored only nine points, starting 4-for-12 and with two turnovers. They trailed by eight (17-9), as the Trolls (6-16, 2-9) had already connected on five three-pointers. Two three-pointers later and with 6:52 to play in the first half, the Tigers had yet to reach 20 points. However, the worst point for the home team hadn't been reached yet, as Trinity Christian made two more from behind the arc to make it 32-19 — their largest lead of the game. The Tigers got back within six points with only 2:29 to play, but gave up eight of the final 12 points to trail by 10 at the half.

In the first half, Olivet shot 13-for-37 from the field (35.1 percent), 1-for-10 from the three-point line (10 percent) and 3-for-5 from the free-throw line (60 percent). They outrebounded the Trolls 21-17. The Tigers had 10 offensive rebounds and committed only two turnovers. Trinity Christian shot 50 percent from the field, 75 percent from the three-point line and 0 percent from the free-throw line. The Trolls committed six first-half turnovers and had three offensive rebounds.

After the break, the Tigers again trailed by double digits after Jared Jones’ sixth three-pointer, 43-32. Yet, the Tigers still hung around, putting together a 10-3 run over four minutes that made it 46-42 and putting them back in the game for good. At the 12:42 mark, the Tigers trailed only 49-48, but soon were down six — after failing to take the lead — with 7:41 still  to play. With more than seven minutes to play, the Tigers were willing to win the game on the defensive end, as they kept the Trolls' sharp-shooter Jones scoreless from there, forcing him into three turnovers. By the 5:09 mark, the Tigers tied the game at 66 and took the lead with a three-point play from Aaron Larson (71-68). Larson followed it with another three-point play, and Zach Wagner converted two scored in the final three minutes to stretch the lead to 10 (80-70), closing the deal and winning the game.

Sophomore Aaron Larson led the Tigers with 24 points on 9-for-15 shooting from the field and 7-for-7 from the free-throw line. He added 13 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and two steals in 37 minutes. He now has eight double-doubles for the season and 12 in his career.

Junior Zach Wagner finished with a career-high 18 points, making 8-of-11 field goals and went 2-for-5 from free-throw line. He also finished with three rebounds and one assist in 33 minutes.

Senior Tony Banks (Peoria, Ill.) finished with 10 points on 2-for-5 shooting, 1-for-3 from the three-point line and 5-for-11 from the free-throw line. He added five rebounds, five assists and four steals in 35 minutes.

Sophomore Reid Farchmin (Mahomet, Ill.) finished with seven points on 3-for-9 shooting and 1-for-2 from the three-point line. He added two rebounds and three assists in 23 minutes.

Off the bench, Matt Ryan (San Diego, Calif.) finished with 10 points, going 3-for-7 from the field and 4-for-6 from the free-throw line. He added three rebounds in 15 minutes. Freshman Tyler Crater (Hampshire, Ill.) added 11 points, one rebound, two assists and three steals.  

The Tigers’ starting point guard, junior Austin Davis (North Augusta, S.C.), missed his first game this season with a sprained ankle he suffered earlier in the week during practice.

Jared Jones led Trinity Christian with 24 points on 8-for-15 shooting from the field and 8-for-11 from the three-point line. He added one rebound and one assist in 36 minutes. Joe Hehir finished with 12 points on 4-for-10 shooting and 3-for-6 from the free-throw line, and had three rebounds in 25 minutes. Cody Rhorer added 10 points, four rebounds and two assists in 19 minutes.

Overall, the Tigers shot 31-for-68 from the field (45.6 percent), 5-for-21 from the three-point line (23.8 percent) and 18-for-30 from the free-throw line (60 percent). They were outrebounded by the Trolls 39-37, and committed only four turnovers and totaled 22 assists, with 15 offensive rebounds and 10 steals.

Trinity Christian shot 27-for-58 from the field (46.6 percent), 16-for-26 from beyond the arc (61.5 percent) and 8-for-14 from the free-throw line (57.1 percent). The Trolls had 17 assists, 19 turnovers, 11 offensive rebounds and two steals.

ONU will be back in action Saturday, Feb. 1, on the road against conference opponent Purdue University-Calumet (Ind.) at 3 p.m.