The Purdue University Calumet men’s basketball team led the league’s top team midway through the second half, but the host University of St. Francis (Ill.) caught fire from the outside late to hand the Peregrines a 85-74 setback Wednesday.
Senior Noah Allen (Flora, Ind./Carroll) had one of his best scoring performances of his career in the loss, netting a season-best 25 points on 10 of 16 shooting from the floor, including a career-best four makes from downtown. He added a season-high seven steals and four assists.
Classmate Aaron Davis (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods) added 13 points, four assists and two steals, Ryan Rader (Lombard, Ill./Willowbrook) added 12 points and Duron Ivery (South Bend, Ind./Washington) had a season-best 11 points and four steals for the Peregrines.
Purdue Calumet (6-7, 3-2 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference) saw its three-game league winning streak snapped with the loss, but the Peregrines didn’t go down easily. After St. Francis (11-4, 6-0 CCAC) took an early seven-point lead (11-4), Purdue Calumet battled back to take a three-point lead (16-13) behind five-straight points from Allen and an Ivery triple.
The two teams battled back and forth into halftime, tied at 29-all at the break.
The Peregrines came out hot to start the second, as Purdue Calumet put together a 9-2 run to take a seven-point lead at the 15-minute mark, up 40-33. Two buckets each by Rader and Davis helped make up the run.
That’s when the Fighting Saints’ Jo Jo Ballestro caught fire, drilling five 3-pointers – plus another triple by teammate Edvinas Presniakovas – over the next five minutes to help St. Francis take an eight-point lead (57-49) and complete a 22-7 run.
Down 10 (73-63) with 2:31 to go, the Peregrines would make one more run, as Allen drained a 3-pointer and an Ivery steal led to a Rader layup to trim the lead to five, but the Saints responded with two straight layups to help seal the victory.
Both teams shot well from the field with the Saints holding a slight edge, shooting 49.1 percent (26 of 53) compared to 46.7 percent (28 of 60) for the Peregrines. The Saints also won the rebounding battle (37-28), but the Peregrines outscored the Saints in the paint (38-28), off turnovers (21-14) and on second-chance points (10-2).
Purdue Calumet returns to action when the Peregrines play host to the Peregrine Holiday Hoop Jam Friday and Saturday at the Fitness and Recreation Center. Purdue Calumet will take on Grace Bible in the tourney’s nightcap Friday at 7 p.m. Indiana Northwest and Judson will play at 5 p.m.
Saturday, which also marks Military Appreciation Day, the Peregrines will face IUN starting at approximately 3 p.m. Free t-shirts, beanies, lanyards and more will be provided to fans courtesy of Purdue Calumet Army ROTC and the Indiana National Guard.