TIPP CITY — Tippecanoe basketball coach Adam Toohey knew there would be no repeat of the Red Devils 83-37 win over Troy before Christmas when the Trojans visited Pat Wampler Gymnasium Tuesday night — for a number of reasons.
And he was right.
While Troy turned in a great effort — Tipp continued to answer every challenge.
The Red Devils improved to 14-0 with a hard-fought 63-49 win, while Troy dropped to 8-6.
“We talked to the kids about that before,” Toohey said. “We are not going to win every game by 40 points. This is the third time we have played Troy (including a scrimmage) since Thanksgiving.
“I felt like we missed some shots tonight we would normally make, but I thought Troy played really well tonight. I think part of it is the rivalry. Whenever, we play rivals like Troy and Butler, those are big games. I know the seniors really wanted to go out with two wins over Troy.”
And the Trojans were just as determined to make sure the game would be nothing like the first one.
“I thought we did a better job against their break,” Troy coach Mark Hess said. “I thought it was (much better than the first game). We are just so beat up right now. We are putting lineups out there we wouldn’t even use in practice. But, the kids never quit battling. They gave a great effort.”
The game was very competitive from the start.
In the second quarter, Tippecanoe used a 10-0 run to break away from a 16-16 tie.
Troy closed to within 28-20 at halftime, before Tipp opened a 16-point lead early in the third quarter.
But, the Trojans would not go away.
Jaden Owens scored five straight points to get Troy within nine early in the fourth quarter at 48-39.
“We just have to sustain runs when we have them,” Hess said. “We know they are going to have runs. We got within nine (twice in the fourth quarter). But, they had some big baskets that really hurt.”
At 48-39, Ben Knostman hit one of two free throws — then Cole Coppock turned a putback into a three-point play to make it 52-39.
“Cole (Coppock) had some big baskets for us tonight,” Toohey said. “And Ben knows when to take a game over. I thought he was playing too passive at the start. He would be two feet from the basket and pass the ball. I told him, you are 6-5 just score. I am glad that changed as the game went on.”
After Troy closed to within nine, Gavin Garlitz hit a 3-pointer that was way out, even by NBA standards.
“That was really deep three,” Hess said.
Knostman led Troy with 21 points and six assists, while Coppock added 18 points and eight rebounds.
Garlitz had six points and four steals, Zach Frederick had six points, seven rebounds and four assists and Gave Dean scored six points.
Troy got 20 points from Owens and 12 from Shaeden Olden.
Tipp will host Sidney in another big game Friday night, while Troy will look to get back on track when Stebbins visits Friday.
“Tipp took us to the wire last time,” Toohey said. “That will be another tough game.”
Just like Tuesday night.