The Trinity Lions Men’s basketball team went into the NIAC-MCAC Crossover Tournament as the defending champions, a title they wanted to hold for another year. They would string together three wins in as many days to repeat as champions of the NIAC-MCAC Crossover Tournament this past weekend.
The Lions faced Canadian Mennonite University in the first round and it would prove to be the toughest challenge they would have all tournament. They would jump out quick on a 9 to 2 run in the first two and half minutes of the game. The Lions would control the pace and the first half holding a 41 to 28 lead at halftime. In the second half CMU would finally settle down and find a rhythm closing the gap on the Lions with a 20 to 9 run over an eight minute span. CMU would get as close as one point 69 to 68. The Lions would finish strong making their free throws down the stretch and held on to win 76 to 72 over CMU. The Lions were paced by junior guard Mikey Rosario (Fort Worth, TX) who had 22 points, joining him in double digits was AJ Anthony (Memphis, TN) with 14 points.
The Lions would face Providence College in the second round; they have met twice before this season, with the Lions winning both games. It was a back and forth game for the first 15 minutes with both teams holding the lead for awhile, until it was tied 30 to 30 with three and half minutes left in the first half. The Lions then would go on a 12 to 0 run to close out the half taking a 42 to 30 lead. The Lions would use some scrappy defense in the second half and would hold Providence to just 2 points in the first seven minutes of the half. They would win by 20 points 82 to 62, advancing to the championship for a second straight year. The Lions had three players in double digits, they were led by Mikey Rosario who had 31 points, 5 rebounds and 5 steals, AJ Anthony had 15 points, 6 steals and 4 assists and Nick Lentz (Onida, SD) had 12 points and 7 rebounds. Pete Enos (Rapid City, SD) led all players with 10 rebounds.
The Lions would face University of Winnipeg for the tournament championship, in a rematch of last year’s championship game. The Lion would grab the lead early 18 to 9 six minutes into the game, but Winnipeg would battle back tying the game 18 to 18 with 12 minutes left in the first half. The Lions would hold just a 3 point lead going into halftime 35 to 32. Winnipeg would cut the lead to just one point 45 to 44 with 14 minutes left in the game, but that was the closest it would get. The Lions would force 22 Winnipeg turnovers over the course of the game and would go on an 18 to 8 run over the next five minutes to put the game out of reach. The Lion would hold on to win 77 to 61, to win their second NIAC-MCAC Crossover Tournament championship. The Lions had four players in double-digits for the game: Mikey Rosario had a game high 25 points, 7 rebounds and 4 steals, AJ Anthony had 19 points and nine steals, David Rohrbach(Aberdeen, SD) had 12 points and 5 rebounds and Nick Lentz had 10 points and 11 rebounds for his third career double-double. Pete Enos for the second straight game hit the glass hard pulling down a game high 14 rebounds, to go with 6 points.
The Lions had three players named to the NIAC-MCAC Crossover Tournament All Tournament team, freshman center Nick Lentz, sophomore guard AJ Anthony who averaged 16 points and 5 steals per game and junior guard Mikey Rosario was named the Tournament Most Valuable Player averaging 26 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists per game.
The Lions next game is home against Mayville State University on Tuesday, January 10th at 8pm. They then travel to Minneapolis, MN for the AG Classic, where they will play North Central University Thursday night at 8pm, Central Bible College Friday at 4pm and Valley Forge Christian College Saturday at 2pm. All games will be played at North Central University, if you can’t make it check out the link below for live streaming o f each game. http://www.ustream.tv/user/NCURams/shows
Good Luck Lions!!