JOLIET, Ill. --- Tough luck continued for the University of St. Francis men's basketball team at the Sullivan Center as the Saints dropped their fourth game by four points or less at home, 68-64, to Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference foe Trinity International University on Saturday night. | Box Score
The Saints, who were coming off a perfect 5-0 road trip, started off slow in returning to the Sullivan Center for the first time since Jan. 12. Trinity International opened up an initial 10-2 lead in the game's first 4:28 and extended that to as high as 17 points, 40-23, before settling for a 40-25 advantage at the break.
The Trojans (12-14, 9-11 CCAC) hit 16 of their 27 first-half shots from the field, including 5-of-8 from long range, in building their 15-point lead after the first 20 minutes. USF, meanwhile, was just 9 of 30 (30 pct.) from the field for the half and finished up at 39.3 percent (22-of-56) for the game.
A 9-0 run to open the second half got the Saints (17-9, 13-7 CCAC) back within single digits, 40-34, with five points from junior Mark Peters (Aurora, Ill./ Marmion Academy) and another four from freshman Mack Brown (Romeoville, Ill./ Plainfield East). But it was not until a later 17-6 charge that St. Francis could gain its first lead of the night, 51-50, on a Peters‘ free throw with 8:36 remaining.
Six lead changes resulted over the next seven minutes before TIU's Daniel Metzfeld drilled a pair of long-range bombs from the top of the key to first tie the contest at 61-all with 2:28 to play and then put the Trojans up for good, 64-61, with 1:42 left.
Prior to Metzfeld's back-to-back treys, TIU had misfired on nine of 10 shots from beyond the arc after opening with the 5-of-8 hot hand. The only other make was another Metzfeld trey that also proved clutch, giving the Trojans a 56-55 lead with 6:14 to play.
Metzfeld, who was 3-for-8 from beyond the arc on the night, finished with a team-high 15 points. He was one of four Trojans to score in double figures. The others were Demontay Robinson (13/4 assists/4 steals), Nathan Ball (12) and Justin Peeples (11).
The Saints, who missed five of their final seven free throws in the last 8:36 and 3-of-4 with under three minutes to play, were led by freshman Edvinas Presniakovas' (Plainfield, Ill./ Plainfield South) 18 points. Peters chipped in another 14 markers.
The Saints will look to reverse a string of four setbacks in five home dates since the beginning of the year when they host NAIA No. 12-ranked Saint Xavier University at 7 p.m. Wednesday.