The Purdue University Calumet men’s basketball team controlled much of the contest against No. 21 Robert Morris University but couldn’t hang on down the stretch, falling on the road in overtime Saturday, 90-87.
The Peregrines (8-8, 3-3 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference) nearly pulled off the upset over the Eagles (11-7, 5-2), leading by 10, 70-60, with 2:52 to play in regulation. But Robert Morris used a 15-5 run down the stretch – capitalizing off seven Peregrine missed free throws – to force the overtime.
Noah Allen (Flora, Ind./Carroll) opened the extra period with a quick jumper and the foul to give the Peregrines a short two-point lead, but the Eagles answered with a layup by Jeremy Price. The game was tied two more times after that point, before three Price points and a Alexander Marzette jumper gave the host a four-point advantage, 86-82, with 47 seconds left.
Two Aaron Davis (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods) free throws and a three-point play the old fashioned way by sophomore Danny Paschen (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central) brought the Peregrines within one (88-87) with just three seconds on the clock, but Price drained both attempts at the line in the final seconds to seal the win.
Davis finished with a season-high 24 points and added seven boards and junior Duron Ivery (South Bend, Ind./Washington) pumped in a career-best 24 points with six rebounds. Junior Ryan Rader (Lombard, Ill./Willowbrook) added 12 points and 10 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the year to round out Peregrines in double-figure scoring.
Purdue Calumet led by as many as 19 (51-32) with 14:29 to play in the second half. The Peregrines held a 39-30 lead at the half and didn’t slow down after the break, rattling off a 13-2 run and holding the Eagles without a field goal until 13:22 mark of the second half. Four different players scored for the Peregrines during that run, led by four points by Davis – including a triple – and four points from Ivery.
The Peregrines would hold that lead, keeping a 17-point advantage (66-49) with 6:17 to play, bolstered by two Davis free throws. That’s when the Eagles began to make their move, as Morgan Myles scored eight of his 23 points in the next two minutes and Asante Smiter drained a 3-pointer to cut the lead to eight (68-60), with 3:12 left in regulation.
Purdue Calumet never trailed in the first half, opening the contest with a 14-4 start, fueled by buckets from Rader Kaspars Brencans (Riga, Latvia/Florida Air Academy), Davis and Dayvohn Braxton (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North).
The Peregrines shot 49.2 percent (30-for-61) from the field for the game compared to 46.8 percent (29-for-62) for the Eagles, with Purdue Calumet shooting a blistering 52.9 percent in the first period. The Black and Gold also owned a 44-34 rebounding advantage but turned the ball over 23 times, compared to just 14 giveaways for RMU, which finished with a 14-5 advantage in steals.
Both teams struggled from the charity stripe, as the Peregrines finished 57.5 percent (23 of 40), just better than Robert Morris, which finished 54.9 percent (28 of 51).
Marzette finished with 26 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks to lead the Eagles and Price added 16 points.
Purdue Calumet returns to action Wednesday, Jan. 14, when the Peregrines host CCAC foe Roosevelt in the second game of a doubleheader with the women at the Fitness and Recreation Center. Game time is set for 7 p.m.