A strong second half showing by the Purdue University Calumet men’s basketball team lifted the Peregrines (5-6, 2-1), over league and divisional opponent Holy Cross College (6-7, 1-3) Saturday afternoon in a 78-68 victory at the Fitness and Recreation Center.
The Black and Gold were led by five players in double figures, with junior Ryan Rader (Lombard, Ill./Willowbrook) leading the pack, as the forward recorded a double-double with a game-high 18 points on a perfect 6 of 6 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds. Senior Kaspars Brencans (Riga, Latvia/Florida Air Academy) chipped in 16 points while Dayvohn Braxton (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) recorded a career-high 15 points on 5 of 8 shooting from the field.
Purdue Calumet jumped off to a strong start to begin the game, as a jumper by Rader gave the Peregrines an early 15-4 lead.
Holy Cross would counter late in the half, as a string of shots by Drew Moore and Zoe Bauer connected to give the Saints a 27-23 advantage. The Saints would continue their run into halftime, taking a 40-31 lead heading into the break.
The Peregrines leaped out to a 12-0 run to start the second half, led by Brencans who knocked down a trio of jumpers to regain the lead, 43-40 at the 15:21 mark. The Black and Gold never trailed from that point forward. Holy Cross would tie the contest at 43 all, but the Peregrines used a 17-7 run over the next eight minutes to take a 10-point lead (60-50) on an Aaron Davis (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods) layup with 6:04 left.
The Saints would cut the lead to five (62-57) on a steal and layup by Darrell McIntyre with 3:50 remaining, but a Braxton layup from the left side and Brencans' jumper would stall the Holy Cross run and give the Peregrines a nine-point advantage at the 2:45 mark.
Down the stretch, Purdue Calumet would make 10 of 12 free throws -- two by Braxton, four by Rader, and four by Brencans -- to seal the victory at the foul line.
Purdue Calumet finished the game shooting 54.7 percent (29-53) from the field, compared to 37.1 percent (23-62) for the Saints.
Davis added 13 points, three assists and two steals while senior guard Noah Allen (Flora, Ind./Carroll) chipped in with 12 points for the Peregrines in the victory.
Drew Moore led the Saints with 18 points and Zoe Bauer added 16 points in the setback.
The Peregrines will be back in action next Saturday, Dec. 20, as they host rival Calumet St. Joseph at the FNRC for a 3 p.m. tip-off.