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Taylor blows out Lincoln Christian to start holidays

BY ERIC HINDERLITER - ctreporter@indy.rr.com

The Taylor University men’s basketball team played a nearly perfect game Friday night on their way to a 111-67 throttling of Lincoln (Illinois) Christian.

In an up and down start to the season, the victory marked the start of a series of four games at home over Christmas break. The win moves the Trojan record to 6-8 on the season and was keyed by pinpoint shooting.

“We could have taken it (the shooting) earlier this season,” said Taylor coach Josh Andrews. “But we’ll take it.”

The Red Lions held one lead as they scored on their very first possession of the game with Zach Thompson’s bucket. The loss dropped Lincoln’s record to 7-8.

Taylor was quick to respond scoring 10 points on the next four times they had the ball. A pair of three-point shots from Ryan Robinson were sandwiched between baskets by Mason Degenkolb and CJ Penha. In the span of two minutes Taylor took a 10-2 lead.

Lincoln was able to narrow the lead to 19-14 near the 11-minute mark in the first half. At that point, the Trojans embarked on an unbelievable run, outscoring the Red Lions 43-16 the rest of the half.

“Once we started making shots, our confidence grew,” noted Andrews. “We executed in the half court. It was the cleanest we’ve been in execution and the best we have shot the ball.”

Taylor hit 16 of 21 shots during the run and were boosted by a pair of players off the bench. Vincent Miranda smoothly hit four shots from long range and 14 points total in the run. Evan Crowe contributed nine points off the bench.

“Our bench needs to bring intensity,” said Andrews. “They brought us great energy and made shots.”

Degenkolb was also effective in the first half barrage netting 13 in the last ten minutes of the half.

Coming into the game Lincoln Christian was ranked as one of the better three-point shooting NAIA teams in the country. While the Lions struggled to find their mark, Taylor took care of business with their long range shooting. In the first half they nailed 11 of 15 attempts from beyond the arc.

Taylor continued to cruise in the early stages of the second half. Their hot shooting continued as they hit 10 of their first 14 shots as part of 28-11 run pushing their lead to 90-41 midway through the second half.

Degenkolb did the bulk of the damage scoring ten points in the run.

For the game, Taylor hit 60 percent of their shots. The offensive explosion had several contributors. Degenkolb led all scorers with 27 points. Robinson hit for 16 (along with nine assists), Miranda 14, Penha and Jason Hubbard both had 11.

“I thought we took great shots,” praised Andrews. “We searched for each other. They sought for their teammates.”

Defensively, the Trojans limited the Lions to just 38 percent field goal shooting. Taylor was also dominant on the boards holding a 44-25 advantage on the glass. Crowe led the way with eight while Miranda picked up seven.

Taylor returns to action on Tuesday when they host East-West.