ELLENDALE, N.D. - North Central men's basketball (7-14, 3-9 UMAC) defeated Trinity Bible College Lions (7-14, 4-7 NIAC), 77-65, on Friday night in a National Christian College Athletic Assocation (NCCAA) matchup. Three Rams players (Jared High, A.J. McGrew, and Riley Loukinen) combined for 52 of North Central's 77 points in the win over the Lions. Loukinen (Little Falls, Minn./Little Falls) scored a game and career-high with 19 points in the contest.
Both the Rams and Lions opened the game strong matching basket for basket before North Central went on a 8-1 run over the Lions to go up 18-8 with 13:43 to play. High's (Buffalo, Minn./Buffalo) 12 points in the first half helped keep the Rams lead over the Lions going into halftime. McGrew (Maple Valley, Wash./Kennedy) had 11 points and five rebounds at the half. North Central shot 13-for-29 (44.8 percent) from the floor compared to Trinity's 9-for-26 (34.6 percent) in the first 20 minutes.
In the second half Loukinen found his rhythm scoring 12 of his 19 points in the final 20 minutes of play. Joel Cline added six rebounds and eight points as the Rams fought off the Lions comeback. With just over ten minutes to play the Lions tied the game at 52 all before a series of Rams shots fell giving NCU a ten point advantage. At 3:03 on the clock in the second half the Lions would bring the game within eight points at 68-60 before a series of missed opportunities from Trinity sealed the game for North Central. The Rams outrebounded the Lions 43-26 and added 13 points from the bench.
The Rams will have a five day break before traveling to Ashland, Wis. in an Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) matchup with The Lumberjacks of Northland College. North Central lost the first meeting between the Rams and Lumberjacks, 79-68. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m.