Grace falls in offensive showcase

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Offense was the name of the game on Wednesday between Grace’s men’s basketball team and St. Francis.

Unfortunately for the Lancers (11-8, 1-6 Crossroads League), USF squeezed out four more points of offense in a 95-91 win at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.

Both teams were electric on offense. Each team shot well over 50 percent, and both sides made at least half of their 3-pointers.

Charlie Warner enjoyed a career game in defeat, scoring a career-best 35 points with four assists. He shot 14-of-19 overall and was unstoppable from deep by hitting 6-of-7 on 3-pointers.

Grace shot 59 percent from the floor, including 72 percent on 3-pointers (13-of-18). The Cougars (11-8, 4-3 CL) shot 55 percent and 50 percent on 3-pointers.

In the first half, Grace opened the game with a 12-9 after Warner scored four points early. But the Cougars erupted over the next two minutes, going on a 13-2 run to seize an eight-point cushion.

USF held onto its lead for the rest of the half, although Grace’s hot shooting kept the Lancers well within striking distance.

Grace went into halftime behind 47-42. Warner had 14 points, and Logan Godfrey scored 10 points.

Warner got his offense started early in the second half, racking up six points over the first 2:13 with a 3-pointer and an and-1. Warner’s triple cut USF’s edge down to 51-50.

Grace suffered a major blow early in the second half, however. Godfrey was whistled for three fouls in less than the span of a minute, fouling out the all-conference forward with 14 minutes remaining.

The Cougars responded with a spurt, opening up a 65-55 lead. But Grace refused to wilt.

Haden Deaton and Warner picked up the scoring slack, combining for 17 points over the next five minutes to propel Grace ahead. Warner had back-to-back 3-pointers during the run, and Deaton was dangerous on the drive and with his jumper.

Deaton’s drive tied the score 72-72 with 9:40 left, and Martin Schiele and Deaton hit back-to-back jumpers to give the Lancers a 76-72 lead with 8:03 remaining.

The Lancers hit a dry spell after their five-minute outburst, however. Grace went almost three minutes before scoring again until Jaret Sons gave the team a boost.

Sons scored seven straight points for the Lancers; all three baskets that Sons made put Grace ahead, including his last one with 2:29 remaining for an 83-82 lead.

But the Cougars’ offense proved too much for Grace down the stretch. USF hit two key shots while Grace came up empty, and the Lancers were forced to foul.

Grace still battled until the final seconds. Triples in the final 15 seconds by Warner and Braxton Linville kept Grace within one possession of the lead, but USF secured the win by hitting six free throws in the last minute.

Deaton finished with 13 points, 5 assists and 5 boards while playing all 40 minutes, and Warner also did not sit after scoring 35 points.

Schiele provided a boost off the bench with 11 points, drilling 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, and Godfrey was Grace’s fourth player in double digits with 10 points, 5 assists, 5 boards and 1 block.

Sons and Linville each scored nine points with three boards, and Linville added three assists.

The Lancers are away on Saturday, playing at No. 13 Marian at 3 p.m.