by Alan Babbitt
Langston Johnson found his shot at the right time. The Hope College men's basketball team did not.
The Flying Dutchmen lost their Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association opener Wednesday at Trine University, 81-67, on Thursday.
The game was a matchup of the top teams in the MIAA preseason coaches poll. Trine finished first, while Hope was second.
Johnson fueled the Thunder by scoring 14 of his game-high 28 points during the first seven minutes of the second half. The junior guard fueled a decisive 22-6 surge that extended Trine's lead to 55-35.
Hope (7-5 overall) rallied but could not get closer than eight points.
The Flying Dutchmen shot 40.7 percent from the field (24-59), including 30 percent from 3-point range (6-20).
Trine (8-4) put four players in double figures for scoring and shot 49.2 percent from the field (31-63).
Junior guard Riley Lewis of Williamston, Michigan (Williamston HS) topped Hope with 24 points off the bench. He scored 21 points after halftime.
Senior guard Jason Beckman of Shelby, Michigan (Shelby) finished with 13 points. He was pressured into 22.2 percent shooting from the field (4-18).
Hope returns to action on Saturday, January 7 with a 3 p.m. home game against Kalamazoo College at DeVos Fieldhouse.