DEFIANCE, Ohio – Earlham College men's basketball earned its second straight Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference win on the road on Wednesday night at Defiance College, 86-82.
Earlham (5-11, 4-5 HCAC) shot out to an early lead going up 12-4 on Defiance (2-14, 0-9 HCAC) within the first five minutes. A "flagrant one foul" attributed to the Quakers' Anthony Phillips broke Earlham's run, and from there Defiance's Devin Goodwyn took over the court. Goodwyn brought Defiance ahead of Earlham by one point, 15-14, with 13 of those points being scored solely by Goodwyn.
Blake Bonin immediately answered with a deep three in a defender's face to tie the game, 17-17. Going into halftime, Earlham held the lead, 39-37.
Earlham stayed on top due to its relentless rebounding efforts and ability to finish at the net. In the first half alone, the Quakers pulled down 22 rebounds, shot 42.4 percent from the field goal range, 40 percent from the three-point distance and a perfect 7-of-7 from the free throw line.
Earlham and Defiance continued trading points back and forth in the second half with neither team securing a clear-cut lead. Early in the half, the Quakers began to get into foul trouble which caused them to switch their play to a more conservative style.
Through the second half, Blake Bonin continued to be the spark in Earlham's offense that Defiance could not contain. Back-to-back threes by Bonin and Phillips brought the Quakers back to within two points of the Yellow Jackets, 61-59, with 9:54 remaining. Earlham remained within striking distance of Defiance before a Stalling three-pointer with 4:04 showing on the game clock put the Quakers in front for good, 73-71.
In the final minutes, three-pointers by Bonin and Kenneth Stalling Jr. helped sealed the game in Earlham's favor, along with the Quakers' 5-of-6 mark at the free-throw line over the final two minutes.
Bonin had a career night and was an essential figure in the win over Defiance; he scored a career-high 27 by going 8-of-11 from the field, 5-of-8 from the three-point range, and a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe.
Men's basketball will look to extend its win streak to three this Saturday, Jan. 19, when the Quakers travel to Manchester University. The game will begin at 4:00 p.m., weather permitting.