NOTRE DAME, Ind. – For the third time in five days, the Tigers laced ‘em up and took the floor. The ONU men’s basketball team traveled to Northwest Indiana to Holy Cross College (Ind.) for a Saturday afternoon matinee showdown. The Tigers were anxious to show the Saints that their earlier meeting this season was a fluke. With a career performance from senior Torey Laferney (Flint, Mich.) and a 31-point output from Ben Worner (Washington, Ill.), ONU handled Holy Cross 103-74.
The Saints (10-10, 6-9) took control early, just like they had when the two teams met in November. At the 15:50 mark, the Tigers trailed 13-7 after a Yama Kader lay-up. However, Olivet (9-10, 7-8) turned it up a notch over the next two minutes, outscoring the Saints 13-0 to take a seven-point lead. The Tigers continued to stretch their lead past the 10-minute of the first half, leading by 13 at 5:20 to play. ONU led by as many as 19 twice in the final three minutes and took a 15-point lead into halftime.
In the first half, Olivet shot 18-for-40 from the field (45 percent), 8-for-16 from the three-point line (50 percent) and 7-for-10 from the free-throw line (70 percent). They were outrebounded by the Saints 27-25 and committed one turnover. Holy Cross shot 34.2 percent from the field, 30 percent from the three-point line and 70 percent from the free-throw line. The Saints committed six first-half turnovers and had 11 offensive rebounds.
As soon as the second half began, the Tigers showed they were in control as they scored 16 of the first 19 points over the first five minutes. ONU took their largest lead at the 12:01 mark, 76-44, and only the Saints back within as many as 24-points. The Tigers reached the century mark for the second time this year.
Senior Ben Worner led the Tigers with 31 points on 12-for-21 shooting from the field, 4-for-11 from the three-point line and 3-for-4 from the free-throw line. He added six rebounds in 34 minutes.
Freshman Aaron Larson (Tolono, Ill.) finished with 20 points on 8-for-15 shooting from the field, 1-for-1 from three-point line and 3-for-5 from the free-throw line. He also had nine rebounds and three assists in 26 minutes.
Senior Torey Laferney finished with a career-high 21 points on 8-for-12 shooting, 3-for-4 from the three-point line and 2-for-3 from the free-throw line. He added four rebounds and two assists in 27 minutes.
Brandon Evans led the Saints with 14 points on 5-for-12 shooting from the field and 4-for-7 from the free-throw line. He added 12 rebounds and two blocks in 32 minutes. Dane Okuda finished with 11 points on 4-for-9 shooting in 17 minutes. Zoe Bauer added 10 points and two assists off the bench.
Overall, the Tigers shot 40-for-78 from the field (51.3 percent), 10-for-24 from the three-point line (41.7 percent) and 13-for-18 from the free-throw line (72.2 percent). They outrebounded Holy Cross 47-43, committed only four turnovers and totaled 19 assists, with 14 offensive rebounds and six steals.
Holy Cross shot 26-for-68 from the field (38.2 percent), 7-for-21 from beyond the arc (33.3 percent) and 15-for-27 from the free-throw line (55.6 percent). The Saints had 12 assists, 13 turnovers, 16 offensive rebounds and two steals.
Worner has made 170 career three-pointers, good for 10th all-time. Worner is six behind Stan Chismark for ninth (176).
ONU will be back in action on Wednesday, January 16, at home against conference opponent Indiana University-South Bend starting at 7:30 p.m.