by Matt Bos-Media Coordinator
Point Lookout, Mo. – (Box Score) Overcoming an eighteen point first half deficit, Trinity International (Ill.) stormed back in the second half behind a three point shooting barrage and the inside presence of Zach Kirschbaum to oust Taylor (Ind.) 74-72 in a second round matchup in the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball Tournament.
Senior forward Grant Corsi was the man of the day for TIU as he nailed a right baseline jumper with 2.2 seconds remaining to break a tie and give his team what proved to be the final margin of victory. Taylor had fought back from five points down, knotting the score at 72 with 1:28 remaining on Keaton Hendrick's three point goal.
Taylor played a flawless first sixteen minutes, taking their biggest lead, 37-19, on back-to-back three pointers by Ryan Robinson and Eric Collier. Though the Trojans from Upland, Ind. did not score for the remainder of the half, they left the floor with a 37-22 lead.
The eventual winners from Deerfield, Ill. came out red-hot after the intermission, netting nine three-pointers en route to a 52 point second half performance. Sixth man Luke Mead hit three treys within a span of 83 seconds to narrow the gap to two points and Jeremy Carlyle (four threes in the half) put Trinity in front for the first time, 53-52, with 11:45 remaining. The lead changed hands twice more until Hendricks' three set up Corsi's heroics.
Kirschbaum was immense with 14 points and a game high 14 rebounds for Trinity International. His basket with 2:58 remaining gave his team a three-point cushion down the stretch.
Jake Heggeland, Taylor's 6'7" sophomore post, was outstanding at both ends of the court, finishing with a game high 23 points and six rebounds.
Mead led Trinity International with 18 points. He and Kirschbaum were joined in double figures by Jeremy Carlyle (whose twin brother Greg was also a factor in the victory) with 16 and Corsi with 11.
Evan Crowe and Hendricks with 10 apiece backed Heggeland's scoring for Taylor.
Trinity International, seeded third in the Naismith bracket, heads to Saturday's 7pm tournament quarterfinal with a record of 30-5. Trinity will take on either No. 1 Union (Ky.) or No.5 College of Idaho on Saturday.
Seventh seeded Taylor finishes a solid season at 21-12.
For more information on the national championship, click here. To watch the live video stream, go to NAIANetwork.com.