Boys basketball: Merrillville rallies past Michigan City for 8th-straight win
By Tommy Williams Post-Tribune correspondent January 25, 2013 11:20PM
Updated: February 27, 2013 6:18AM
MERRILLVILLE — Merrillville basketball coach T.J. Lux made two huge statements before, and halfway through, his Pirates’ Duneland Conference game with Michigan City.
One of those statements helped the Pirates Friday night, the other could bode well for the future.
The halftime statement came after Merrillville trailed by six against a Wolves team they had beaten by 26 last month.
“I told the guys they had to have more pride in their work, their family, and their school,” Lux said. “I told them that they are only guaranteed 20 regular-season games and one playoff game and if they let one get away they’re cheating themselves.”
The Pirates used a strong third quarter to knock off Michigan City 60-54 behind the scoring of guard B.J. Jenkins, who had a game-high 23 points, including 13 of the Pirates’ 23 points in the third quarter. Merrillville turned its halftime deficit into a 43-30 lead after three.
“(We were) horrible in the first half,” said Jenkins. “We weren’t focused, we weren’t executing anything at all. We looked like a biddy team out there, but we regained our composure in the second half.”
That lack of execution may have been the result of two players apparently breaking team rules which led to Lux’s pregame statement.
Regular starters Zoran Talley and Jelani Pruitt (30 ppg between the two) both had to come off the bench for the Pirates, but Merrillville (12-1, 10-0 in the DAC) did just enough against Michigan City to win their eighth straight while the Wolves lost their fifth game in the last six with a home game with unbeaten Bishop Noll on Saturday night.
“We turned the ball over a little too much and that didn’t help us at all,” Wolves coach John Boyd said. “But inspite of 20 plus turnovers, we hung with them which is a good sign considering how they beat us last time.”