MATTOON, Ill. — Vincennes University's promising start and finish weren't enough Tuesday in its men's basketball game with Triton at the Lake Land Classic.
The Trojans blew open a tight game with a 31-9 start to the second half and led by as many as 24 points before settling for a 69-53 victory.
Shilo Jackson produced 20 points, on 9-of-12 shooting, and 13 rebounds for the Trailblazers (3-6), who led by 11 in the opening half before turnovers and Triton's 3-point shooting did them in. Teonta McKeithen and Daylen Hamilton had 13 apiece for honorable mention Triton (6-1). Five of VU's six defeats this season are to teams that are in this week's NJCAA poll.
VU notched a 14-2 spurt after the Trojans forged a 61-37 advantage, punctuated by Jackson's three consecutive dunks, to get as close as 63-51.
Thow Biel was VU's second double-figure scorer with 10.
Blazers coach Todd Franklin said the team missed the ball handling of its only returning starter, Brevin Jefferson, who is out this week with an ankle injury. VU committed 24 turnovers.
"We gave into their 2-2-1 press, which wasn't very good. I think if we have Brevin we win this game. Once we got in the half court, we competed," Franklin said. "Shilo was the best big guy on the court, and they have a guy going to West Virginia.
"We know what to run against a 2-2-1, and there were holes to hit. But we have guys against pressure who either freak out or their skill level isn't high enough," Franklin said. "You look at Shilo and Thow, they're going to be good players. If we had more veteran ball-handlers, they would look better than they are now. The ball-handling is affecting everything."
Triton, only leading by two at halftime, had runs of six, 11 and seven to take its lead to 24. McKeithen collected on three 3-pointers in a row in the 11-point blast, pushing the lead to 54-36 with 11 minutes to go.
Two who were players for the Blazers a year ago, Brandon Muntu and Christian Wells, had eight and five points for the Trojans. Wells had one of the team's two technical fouls.
Triton edged ahead at halftime, 30-28, with each team enjoying double-figure runs.
VU put 12 points together to forge an 18-7 advantage less than eight minutes in. Biel had five points in the run, including a three-point play on a dunk, and his putback on his own miss concluded the spurt.
The Trojans responded with the next 11 points to tie it at 18, with their full-court press responsible for seven turnovers in that stretch. The Blazers, scoreless for more than six minutes, found their footing behind reserve Deatrick Pashell. The center had six of VU's last 10 points of the half.
The Blazers play No. 11 Indian Hills at 2 p.m. Wednesday in their last game of the classic.
TRITON 69, VINCENNES 53
Elisee (f) 2 0-0 4, McKeithen (f) 5 0-0 13, Muntu (g) 3 0-0 8, Wilson (g) 2 3-3 7, Kalakon (g) 0 0-0 0, Denson 3 2-4 8, Hamilton 5 2-4 13, Ittounas 0 0-0 0, James 2 0-0 5, Suemnick 2 2-2 6, Wells 2 1-1 5. Totals: 26 10-14 69.
Biel (f) 4-10 2-4 10, Jackson (f) 9-12 2-4 20, Johnson (g) 1-4 0-0 2, Clarke-Moore (g) 0-4 1-2 1, Davis (g) 2-6 1-3 5, Wyatt 1-4 0-0 2, White 0-5 2-2 2, Brown 0-0 5-5 5, Pashell 3-7 0-0 6. Totals: 20-52 13-20 53.
SCORE BY HALVES
Triton|30-39 — 69
Vincennes |28-25 — 53
3-pointers: Triton 7 (McKeithen 3, Muntu 2, Hamilton, James), VU 0-2 (Biel 0-1, Clarke-Moore 0-1). Rebounds: VU 32 (Jackson 13). Turnovers: VU 24. Fouls: Triton 19, VU 14. Fouled out: Denson. Technical fouls: Denson, Wells.