Bulldogs Roll Thunder to Advance to MIAA Final
ADRIAN, Mich. - After leading 32-20 at halftime, the Bulldogs survived an 11-0 run by Trine to open the second half, as they went on to defeat the Thunder 59-50, in the semi-final round of the MIAA Tournament. With the win, Adrian will travel to Hope on Saturday at 3 pm to battle for the MIAA Conference Championship.
Adrian held the conference's top-scorer Ian Jackson scoreless in the first half as the Bulldogs out-rebounded the Thunder 20-11 in the opening 20 minutes. Trine battled the second half to take the lead over the Bulldogs at the 10:50 mark in what would end up being a back-and-forth half of basketball. In the last ten minutes of the game, there were four lead changes and one tie.
The tide turned for the Bulldogs when sophomore Curtis Gordon found junior Dennis Mason open under the bucket for a dunk which gave the Bulldogs the lead, and made the home fans erupt with 5:51 left in the game. Adrian closed the game on a 10-2 run, as sophomore Richaud Pack scored the final eight points of the game for the Bulldogs. Pack finished with a career-high 25 points, going 13-15 from the free-throw line.
The Thunder got a strong effort from Scott Rogers who finished with 20 points and seven rebounds. Jackson, the leagues leading scorer at 18 points a game, was held to five points on 2-15 shooting thanks in part to the strong defense played by the Bulldogs.
For the game, the Bulldogs again won the rebounding battle, besting the Thunder 39-28 on the glass. Adrian was once again without point guard Delano Collins who sat out due to injury and was replaced by junior Cody Barnes, who played 27 minutes for the Bulldogs. The other Adrian point guard, junior Brad Whitby, is out for the season with an injury.
The focus for Adrian will now shift to Hope, who beat Calvin in Holland, 87-80. The Flying Dutchmen 25-1 (14-0 MIAA) are currently the top-rated team in D-III. Adrian has fallen to Hope twice this season, first in Holland on Jan. 7, 69-60, then at home on Feb. 1, 64-47.
Tip-off for the MIAA Championship game will be at 3 pm at DeVos Fieldhouse in Holland, as the Bulldogs will attempt to win their first ever MIAA Tournament Championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament.