Grace takes No. 1 IWU to OT
MARION, Ind. – Grace’s men’s basketball suffered its first defeat of the season in overtime on Tuesday, losing at No. 1 Indiana Wesleyan 92-86.
The Lancers (8-1, 0-1 Crossroads League) led by 11 in the second half and had a chance to win the game with the last shot of regulation. But the defending NAIA champion Wildcats (9-1, 1-0 CL) pulled away in overtime in the Crossroads League opener.
Logan Godfrey powered Grace in the first half. He scored 20 points by himself in the half, going head-to-head with IWU’s All-American 7-footer Evan Maxwell.
Grace started the game confidently by taking a 7-2 lead, five points coming from Godfrey. The Lancers held a small lead for much of the opening half, but IWU managed to tie the game 33-33 with four minutes to go.
Grace wrapped up the half on a 12-3 run to go ahead 45-36 at halftime. Godfrey had seven points during that run, and Charlie Warner also buried a triple.
Both teams shot over 50 percent in the first half. Grace made 8-of-11 from the free throw line, while IWU only managed two free throws. The Wildcats also shot just 1-of-6 from beyond the arc.
Jaret Sons made a layup on the first possession of the second half to put Grace on top by 11. But IWU proved its ranking by quickly erasing Grace’s cushion. The Wildcats responded with a 19-5 run, hitting back-to-back triples to take a 55-52 lead.
Sons answered with a 3-pointer of his own to tie the score at 55-55, and he proved to be a key player in the second half.
The rest of regulation was a nervy affair. Both sides took turns with a small lead with the game going down to the final buzzer.
IWU opened up a five-point edge with 7:49 on the clock, but Grace fought back with an and-1 by Braxton Linville and a 3-pointer from Haden Deaton.
Sons then stepped up with eight points over the span of 2:24; his last bucket put the Lancers ahead 75-71 with 3:21 remaining.
With less two minutes to play, Grace held a five-point lead and had the ball after an IWU turnover. But the Lancers proceeded to turn the ball over and give up a 3-point play to give the Wildcats hope.
After Grace missed on a layup, IWU tied the game at 77-77 with 51 seconds left. Each team then hit a pair of foul shots, but Grace had the ball last with 15 seconds remaining and the score knotted at 79-79.
The Lancers passed the ball into Godfrey on the left block, but Godfrey’s shot fell just short in the waning seconds to send the game to overtime.
In the overtime period, IWU scored seven of its 13 points from the foul line. Grace trailed by two with 51 seconds left, but the Lancers missed on a pair of open 3-pointers.
The Wildcats made only 1-of-2 from the free throw line on the next possession, and Godfrey responded with two free throws to slice the deficit to one with 24 seconds remaining.
IWU made the first free throw on its possession but misfired on the second try, but the Wildcats managed to steal an offensive rebound. IWU then hit two foul shots to effectively end the contest.
Godfrey led all players with 31 points, adding six rebounds and three steals. Deaton added 18 points and four boards, hitting 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.
Sons scored 15 points with five rebounds, and Warner added 11 points and five boards.
Linville tallied 5 points, 6 assists and 3 rebounds, and Eddie Gill IV scored six points with two steals off the bench.
The Lancers are at home twice next week. Grace will host Spring Arbor on Nov. 27 and Bethel on Dec. 1.