Dragons hang tough against IUPUI in opening exhibition

Thomas Hickman and the Dragons gave IUPUI all it could handle in a narrow 81-77 loss.
Thomas Hickman and the Dragons gave IUPUI all it could handle in a narrow 81-77 loss.

Tiffin University gave IUPUI all it could handle in its 2019-20 season opening exhibition game in Indiana Farmers Coliseum, falling 81-77 in a narrow contest.

The Dragons played tough all night in a game that saw 40 lead changes. Tiffin battled from the outset, never trailing by more than 7 in the first half and holding the lead on numerous occasions. Tiffin held the halftime lead 42-41 with its high octane offense taking advantage of IUPUI turnovers.

Tiffin continued to lead for most of next 10 minutes coming out of the halftime locker room, refusing to let the Jaguars pull away. With the Dragons trailing 64-62 with 8:21 left, IUPUI put a quick 7-0 run together to go up 9 points.

Again the Dragons refused to back down. The Dragons cut the deficit to 6 points with 3:13 left on a Jaden Terry triple, then brought it down to 2 points with 13 seconds remaining on a Trent Williams trey. Free throws by IUPUI gave them enough of a cushion to put the win away.

The Jaguars outshot Tiffin 49 percent to 41 percent but only held a 44-40 rebounding margin. Tiffin's defense helped force 27 turnovers leading to a big 32-12 advantage in points off turnovers.

IUPUI also held a hot hand from beyond the arc, shooting 42 percent from three point while Tiffin also had 22 turnovers.

Dalaino Walker led the team with 15 points followed by Jairus Stevens with 13. Josh Williams also had 14 points with 5 rebounds. Trent Williams (11 points) and Jamaal Clifton (10 points, 6 rebounds) also landed in double figures for the Dragons.

Tiffin will next tangle with Bowling Green on Nov. 5 at 7 pm in another preseason exhibition.