Justin Chapman | Echo
After receiving their first loss, Taylor's men's basketball team bounced back to get the better of Spring Arbor this past Tuesday. Three Trojans reached double figures in the point column with junior guard Evan Crowe leading the way at 29.
Crowe shot 50 percent from the field overall and 54.5 percent from beyond the arc. The team overall shot 47.8 percent from three-point range, their best all season. Junior forward Jake Heggeland recorded a double-double with 18 points and 13 boards.
The 12th ranked Taylor squad traveled to Bethel on Nov. 21, as the Pilots ruined the Trojans' perfect record.
"(We) kind of got beat up on the defensive glass, they had so many offensive rebounds," sophomore guard Mason Degenkolb said. "Just more or less kind of felt like we got out-toughed a little bit. That's kind of hard to swallow for our team. That's not how we ever want to feel after a game."
Despite the loss, the Trojans moved up from No. 15 in the national polls to No. 12. This move makes sense considering Taylor beat two top-10 nationally ranked teams in their first nine games of the season and their only loss is to No. 16 Bethel.
One of the reasons the Trojans are so successful is because of their numerous amount of scoring options. Crowe in their most recent game scored 29, Degenkolb erupted for 32 points against Trinity this season and sophomore guard Ryan Robinson dropped 24 against Bethel this season.
"Our guys have had their backs against the wall multiple times already this season, and we've come out on the winning side all but once," head coach Josh Andrews said. "They've been tested, and they know how to take care of the ball and make big plays when it counts."
Taylor's non-conference schedule is tough, and it will not get any easier during conference play. Five teams in the Crossroads League including the Trojans are nationally ranked inside the top-25.
The Trojans showed off their defensive skills as they held Spring Arbor under their normal three-point shooting percentage. Spring Arbor has the top three-point shooting percentage in the Crossroads League, sinking roughly 43.2 percent from behind the arc each game, and Taylor held them to 41.7 percent from three-point land.
"That was a big emphasis for us: taking away the three-point line," senior forward Keaton Hendricks said. "The first half we did not do a very good job, but we did a better job in the second half, and (we) were able to come out with the win."
As the end of the semester winds down, Silent Night creeps closer and closer. The Trojans have two more games before the highly anticipated Silent Night game.
The first game they will play is tomorrow at Mount Vernon Nazarene. Tip off is set for 3 p.m.
"Photograph by Brad Timmerman"