Senior Noah Allen scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a first-half deficit in the Purdue University Calumet men’s basketball team’s 79-68 season-opening loss to visiting AIB College Friday night.
Allen (Flora, Ind./Carroll) finished with a game-high 22 on 7 of 14 shooting to go along with three steals to lead the Peregrines (0-1), who trailed by 16, 46-30, at halftime in the second game of the Purdue Calumet Tip-Off Classic at the Fitness and Recreation Center.
Junior 6-foot-10 transfer Andis Malahovskis (Cesis, Latvia/Cesis City) als had a strong showing in his Peregrine debut, netting 16 points (5 of 6 from the field) and seven rebounds and junior Ryan Rader (Lombard, Ill./Willowbrook) added 15 points and four boards in the setback.
The Eagles (3-0) used timely shooting (18 of 36, 50 percent) and forced the Peregrines into eight first half turnovers, but the Peregrines – thanks to a personal 10-point run by Allen -- stormed back midway through in the second half to cut the lead to eight, 58-50, with 11:32 remaining. Allen drained two jumpers, hit a layup and made two free throws during the stretch.
AIB, however, didn’t let it get any closer, as the Eagles answered with a 8-2 run over the next three minutes to take a 14-point lead (66-52) with 8:21 to go. The Peregrines cut the lead to seven twice with less than two minutes to play, but the Eagles’ Brandon Eley (22 points, six assists) helped seal the win for the visitors with a critical triple late.
Purdue Calumet struggled to find its groove from outside, making just 1 of 11 (9.1 percent) shots from behind the arc, while AIB (3-0) shot 46.2 percent (6 of 13). The Peregrines reached the foul line 29 times (21-of-29), while the Eagles missed just one from the charity stripe on 11 attempts.
AIB edged the Peregrines on the boards, 38-35.
Purdue Calumet returns to action Saturday with a 3 p.m. contest with Michigan-Dearborn in the Tip-Off Classic finale at the Fitness and Rec Center. The Wolverines fell in tournament opener to Holy Cross, 91-84. AIB and Holy Cross tip off starting at 1 p.m. Saturday.