Last-second shot by Trine’s Bowman sinks Baldwin Wallace

College Sports

ANGOLA, Ind. (WANE) – The Trine University men’s basketball team needed a basket in the final second to upend the previously unbeaten Baldwin Wallace University on Sunday afternoon by a score of 72-70.

After surrendering a game-tying three-point field goal with eight seconds remaining, the Thunder came down to the offensive end of the floor and called on their senior All-American Nick Bowman [Angola, Ind. / Hamilton Southeastern] to make a play on a pick-and-roll action. Bowman strolled down the lane and beat the help defender to the rim to score with 0.6 remaining on the clock.

The win pushes Trine to 5-1 on the season and Baldwin Wallace suffers their first setback of 2021-22 at 4-1.

Mitchell Geller [Huntington, Ind. / Huntington North] scored on the first possession of the game, but from there, it was a low-scoring defensive battle through the first eight minutes of play. The Thunder defense held the Yellow Jackets without a score from the 16:37 mark to 10:22 remaining in the first period.

It was during that time where Trine went on a 10-0 run, highlighted by a pair of jump shots by Aiden Warzecha [Milford, Mich. / Milford]. Bowman was able to knock down a shot from long range off a find by Hayden Jones [Kendallville, Ind. / East Noble] to double up Baldwin Wallace at 18-9 just under halfway in the period.

Emmanuel Megnanglo [Cotonou, Benin / Amelia Academy] rocked the rim on a dunk following his own offensive rebound with seven minutes left to make it 22-12 and give the Thunder their first double-digit lead of the game. The largest lead of the game came off of a foul on a Bowman three-point attempt. The senior calmly drained all three from the charity stripe to go ahead 25-13.

A 16-5 run by the Yellow Jackets brought them right back into the fray, including four made shots from distance. Another make from three with 1:13 to go in the first half tied the game at 32 for the first time since tip-off. Following a made free throw by Baldwin Wallace with six ticks left, Hayden Jones dribbled down and connected on a three as the buzzer sounded to go into the half up 37-33.

“If you didn’t look at our roster, you would look at him (Jones) and think he’s a senior,” Bowman said of the freshman guard postgame. “Making the plays he does and knowing he’s a freshman and his basketball IQ, poise and confidence is a huge asset to the team.”

Three-point shooting kept the Yellow Jackets afloat early in the second half. Each time the Thunder would get a basket inside, Baldwin Wallace was countering with a three-point shot of their own. A steal by Warzecha, one of his five in total, led to a Bowman dunk to give Trine their biggest lead of the second half, 47-40.

Eight straight by the Yellow Jackets allowed the visiting team to take their first lead of the game at 13:40 remaining 48-47. Their largest lead of six came right at halfway with a three-point shot to take a 56-50 advantage.

The Thunder scored on three consecutive possessions to tie the game at 56 and regained the lead 60-58 on a Geller lay-up with 6:27 to play. Bryce Williams [Archbold, Ohio / Archbold] connected on a three with three minutes to go to take a 68-62 lead.

Baldwin Wallace scored five straight points and kept the Thunder off the board to get it to within one at 68-67 with less than one minute left.

Bowman was fouled and went to the free-throw line with 19 seconds to play. The moment was not too big for the senior as he connected on both, but the Yellow Jackets nailed a three to tie the game with eight seconds left.

Baldwin Wallace called a timeout to go over their defensive game plan, but ultimately it would not work out well for the visitors. Head Coach Brooks Miller dialed up the leading scorer on a pick-and-roll and Bowman got all the way to the rim for the deuce to sink the Yellow Jackets with 0.6 on the clock.

“Mason Loeffler [Swanton, Ohio / Evergreen] coming in today after not getting an opportunity all year, his minutes were key,” Coach Miller described afterwards. “When you get solid minutes from a guy like him coming off the bench to rest Nick and our other guards, it’s huge, that plays into later in the game. Nick has the energy to go finish that shot over two guys, maybe it has to do with Mason coming in and being +11 in the first half.”

Bowman was the team’s leading scorer with 23 points, including 10 made free throws. Geller (13 points) and Hayden Jones (12 points) were other scorers in double figures. Warzecha dished out a team-high three assists and recorded the most steals with five. Megnanglo was able to block three shots. As a team, Trine won the paint battle 34-20.

It will be more than a week before the Thunder men are in action once again. It is a road game against Heidelberg University on Wednesday, December 8 at 7 pm.

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