Indiana Tech falls on the road Warriors remain in second place in WHAC.
For just the second time in its past nine games, the Indiana Tech men’s basketball squad lost a game, but as usual, the Warriors got a strong contribution from fifth-year senior guard Miles Robinson.
Indiana Tech fell 89-76 at Aquinas Wednesday in Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference play. The defeat keeps the Warriors (18-7, 13-4) in a tie for second place with Davenport. Both teams trail league-leading Cornerstone (16-1).
The Saints (14-11, 10-7) methodically pulled away from a 37-37 halftime tie and built a second-half advantage to as much as 15 points over the final 10 minutes of the game.
Aquinas locked up Indiana Tech defensively, allowing it to shoot just 40.7 percent, but in the case of Robinson, he was able to score efficiently. He hit half of his 16 shots.
“The big thing with Miles is that he is extremely competitive,” third-year Indiana Tech coach John Peckinpaugh told The News-Sentinel recently. “He wants to win more than anything else.”
Robinson is the current WHAC Player of the Week after leading the Warriors to wins against Lourdes and Michigan-Dearborn, and he scored a game-high 27 points Wednesday, as he returned to his hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich.
Not only did he pace his team in scoring, but Robinson also dished out six assists and grabbed five rebounds, despite being just 5-foot-11. Neither of those numbers surprise Peckinpaugh much.
Robinson is the Warriors’ leader in assists and steals, but also averages nearly five rebounds per game.
“He’s willing to go inside and mix it up with the big guys,” Peckinpaugh said. “He’ll battle for rebounds and this year he’s done a really good job of making his teammates better.”
Despite Wednesday’s defeat, the Warriors are on pace to eclipse the 23-win mark, which they reached last season and ties for the most victories in the last decade-plus.
“We talked with him a lot in the off-season about we needed him to make our (other) guys better,” Peckinpaugh said, “if we wanted a chance to be good again.”
Against Aquinas, the Warriors defended fairly well in limiting the Saints to 45 percent shooting, but Indiana Tech did give up 10 3-point shots and got outrebounded 41-36.
“The second semester,” Peckinpaugh explained, “our defense has really picked up. We had some (poor) games early on that really hurt us. But we have slowly been getting better on the defensive end of the floor.”
Robinson has worked his way into becoming more of a leader for this year’s team and his play at both ends of the floor has improved in his three seasons at Indiana Tech.
“He has really matured and become a leader of the team,” Peckinpaugh explained, “and has done a great job for us all year.”
Robinson plays with a chip on his shoulder, according to his coach, and that drive isn’t limited to games.
“He is a kid that is going to come in and compete,” Peckinpaugh said. “I don’t like the term ‘lead by example,’ but that is kind of what he does. He makes sure that everyone is going hard. He pushes his teammates. If they are not going hard in practice, he is going to win every drill.”
Warriors turned the ball over 13 times Wednesday, but only forced Aquinas into seven turnovers. But it was Indiana Tech’s anemic offense that really hurt its chances at the road win.
Franklin Lindsay chipped 13 points and eight rebounds in the loss, while Tanner Watkins (10 points) and CJ Bussey (11 points) also contributed.
Indiana Tech will host Concordia (9-16, 5-12) at 3 p.m. Saturday.