HAMMOND, Ind. - Purdue University Calumet's Alex Starr poured in a career-high 45 points to help lead the No. 23 Peregrines past No. 16 Olivet Nazarene, 121-113, in Wednesday night's track meet at the Fitness and Recreation Center. The Black and Gold remain one-game behind CCAC leader Roosevelt with their eighth-straight win, pushing their record to 20-7 overall and 17-4 in the conference. Olivet Nazarene falls to 21-7 overall and 16-5 in CCAC play with the loss.
Starr had the hot hand for the Peregrines from the start, scoring 17 points of the team’s first 24 points as PUC built up a double-digit lead in the opening seven minutes of the game. However, ONU’s top-ranked offensive attack started heating up midway through the period, as Danielle Tolbert wrapped up an 11-2 spurt that handed the Tigers a three-point advantage, 46-43, with 5:31 remaining in the half. Purdue Calumet would close the first period of play with a fury though, finishing the half on 24-7 run to take a 67-53 lead into the break. Starr poured in 25 first-half points for Purdue Calumet, who shot 51.1 percent from the field and 60 percent from beyond the arc in the period.
The Peregrines carried that momentum over to the final stanza, as they pushed the margin to 28, 104-76, on a pair of free throws from Starr with just over 10 minutes remaining. Olivet Nazarene made one last push late in the contest, taking less than four minutes to turn a 20-point deficit into a single-digit lead for the Peregrines. However, PUC pulled down a pair of clutch offensive rebounds in the final minutes to help drain the clock and snap a 12-game losing streak to the Tigers.
Purdue Calumet shot 51.9 percent from the field for the game, including 55.6 percent shooting from downtown. ONU shot 42.5 percent from the field, but managed just 30.6 percent shooting from three-point range. The Black and Gold pulled down 18 offensive rebounds en route to a dominating 54-38 advantage on the glass.
Starr finished 15-of-27 from the field with five trifectas, while eclipsing the 1,500-point mark for her career. Graber led four other Peregrines in double-figures with 23 points on the night, while Tierra Turner filled up the box score with 20 points, nine rebounds, six steals and five assists. Amanda Gaskin recorded her fifth double-double of the season, finishing with 12 points and a game-high 17 rebounds. Brooklyn Short notched a double-double of another variety with 10 points and 11 assists.
Ashley Wilson topped ONU with 18 points and six rebounds, while Liz Bart came off the bench to knock down five treys on her way to a 15-point performance. Miranda Geever was one of three other Tigers to reach double-figures, tallying 10 points, five assists and five steals on the night.
Purdue Calumet will be back in action this Saturday, February 16, when it travels to No. 11 Roosevelt with a share of the CCAC regular-season title on the line. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. at the Lakers’ Goodman Center in downtown Chicago. The Tigers will host St. Francis (Ill.) in their regular-season finale at McHie Arena on Saturday at 1 p.m.