RICHMOND, Ind. – Earlham College fought off repeated Defiance College challenges and made some clutch baskets down the stretch, eventually prevailing over the visiting Yellow Jackets, 77-70, in a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball clash Wednesday night in the Druley Performance Gym.
Four Quakers finished in double digits, led by junior Darrell Hutchison Jr. (Indianapolis, Ind./Crispus Attucks) with 12 points. Sophomore Kenneth Stalling Jr (Gary, Ind./Thea Bowman) and sophomore Thomas Sanborn (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) each tallied 11 points, with freshman Jamel Barnes (Muncie, Ind./Muncie Central) contributing 10 points.
Sanborn hauled down seven rebounds for Earlham, who outworked Defiance on the glass, 34-30. Barnes handed out a game-high five assists.
As a team, the Quakers tallied 19 assists, second-most this season, while committing a season-low eight turnovers. Earlham shot 55.6 percent (30-of-54) from the field – its season-best performance against a Division III opponent.
Buckets by Bailey Stewart (Richmond, Ind./Northeastern) and Barnes sent the Quakers into the locker room at the intermission with a 38-34 lead, capping a neck-and-neck first half that saw five ties and one lead change.
Earlham (4-12, 2-7 Heartland) extended its lead to seven points, 43-36, at the 18:21 mark following a traditional three-point play by Hutchison, but Defiance (3-13, 2-7 Heartland) quickly reeled the Quakers back in to make it a one-possession game. A 9-0 Earlham run lasting nearly three minutes put the Quakers in front by 12, 63-51, with 9:11 showing on the clock, and the Maroon and White appeared to have the contest well in hand.
Defiance rallied to cut the Earlham down to single digits and eventually down to one possession, 70-68, with approximately three minutes to play, but the Yellow Jackets would get no closer. Stalling layups at the 2:04 and 00:51 marks kept Defiance at bay, while defensively Earlham held the Yellow Jackets to no field goals over the final four minutes.
Defiance's Elijah Pennington led the Yellow Jackets with 21 points, while Randall Aikins Jr. finished with 15.
Earlham men's basketball continues its home stand on Saturday, Jan. 20, when it plays host to Manchester University. Tip-off at the Druley Performance Gym is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.
For more information about Earlham men's basketball, visit the online home of Earlham College athletics at www.GoEarlham.com. Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Earlham athletics news by following Earlham Quakers on Facebook (Earlham Quakers Athletics), Twitter (@EarlhamQuakers), and Instagram (EarlhamQuakers).