Hot Shooting Trojans Top Grace in League Opener
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Taylor shot over 50.0 percent from the field in each half and finished the game at a season-best clip of 58.6 percent to score a 91-88 win at Grace in the Crossroads League opener for both squads.
The Trojan led throughout the afternoon, holding a double-digit lead over much of the final half and opening a 15-point spread with just over four minutes to play before holding off a frantic final surge from the host Lancers (4-2, 0-1 CL).
Taylor took the lead for good just 3:11 into the affair on a bucket from James McCloud and steadily pulled away. A triple from Gavin Yoon pushed the gap to 13 late in the half and the Purple and Gold went to the break with a 48-39 cushion.
The duo of Jason Hubbard and Vincent Miranda paced the Trojans over the first 20 minutes, combining for 29 points on 11-of-16 shooting.
The game tightened in the early moments of the second half, with Grace drawing within two but Taylor countered with a 13-2 run. Kaden Fuhrmann scored six points during that stretch and capped the burst with a three-point play that gave TU a 65-52 lead.
A hoop from Miranda later lifted Taylor to its largest lead of the day at 84-69 with 4:23 to play, but Grace scored 19 points over the rest of the way in a frantic comeback bid.
The Lancers got as close as three points and had possession, but a potential game-tying three was off the mark and CJ Penha grabbed the rebound and sank a pair of free throws to secure the road victory for Taylor.
Penha led the way over the final stanza, netting 11 points on four-of-five shooting and Taylor shot 64.0 percent in the half to withstand an uncharacteristic 10 turnovers in the period.
Miranda and Hubbard tied for the team lead in the scoring in the contest with 21 each, with Miranda sinking seven-of-10 looks and grabbing five rebounds. Hubbard posted a double-double with 10 rebounds and two blocks and Penha finished at 15 points, seven boards and a pair of blocks.
McCloud and Zach Baugher each scored nine points to round out a strong showing from TU’s starting five, while Fuhrmann posted 11 points and two assists to provide a spark off the bench.
The win moved Taylor to 3-0 on the young season when scoring at least 90 points and gave the Trojans the program’s first 1-0 start in league play since the 2016-2017 campaign.
Taylor (3-2, 1-0 CL) will look to return to play on Tuesday, when it is slated for an 8:00 pm start at Goshen (2-5, 0-1 CL).