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Grace rues chance to upset IWU

MARION, Ind. – For the second straight game, Grace’s men’s basketball team put together a strong defensive effort against a ranked NAIA team.

But for the second straight game, the Lancers lost in overtime.

Grace held a 10-point lead with 6:30 to play, but No. 7 Indiana Wesleyan rallied late to force overtime. The Wildcats went on to win 80-72 on Tuesday in Crossroads League play.

The Lancers’ rapidly improving defense held the Wildcats (16-5, 7-2 CL) to their lowest scoring regulation of the season. IWU’s 68 points in regulation were five fewer than their previous low and 20 points below their season average.

Grace had the upper hand for most of the contest. Matt Jennings gave the Lancers (7-14, 0-9 CL) an early lead after converting an and-1.

The lead for Grace grew to seven after a 3-pointer from Erik Bowen—his second triple of the season—and the Lancers led by nine with 4:10 to play in the half.

The Wildcats countered with a 10-1 run to climb back into the game, but Grace hit six free throws over the final minute and led 40-35 at halftime.

In the second half, Grace’s defense continued to give the Wildcats fits. The Lancers refused to surrender the lead and eventually pulled ahead 67-55 with 8:35 remaining.

But the Lancers hit a dismal dry spell on offense over the remainder of regulation, which in turn cost Grace the game.

Over the final 8:35 of regulation, Grace scored only one more point. The Lancers missed seven field goals and had five turnovers down the stretch as the Wildcats slowly came back.

IWU eventually tied the game 68-68 on a 3-pointer with 1:09 on the clock, and Grace missed on two shots in the last minute to potentially win the game.

In overtime, Grace’s offensive woes continued. The Lancers went scoreless for the opening three minutes of the extra period, allowing IWU to open up a commanding seven-point lead.

Jaret Sons banked in a shot with 1:57 left in overtime, but it was not enough to spark a rally. Overall Grace went 11:32 of playing time between the second half and overtime without making a field goal.

IWU shot 53 percent for the game compared to 43 percent for Grace. The Lancers had 14 offensive rebounds and forced the Wildcats into 19 turnovers.

Bowen scored 17 points to go along with eight rebounds, and Braxton Linville added 12 points, 5 assists and 2 steals.

Logan Godfrey tallied 11 points to go along with 7 boards, 3 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals, Stephen Halstead had 10 points and four assists, and Jennings and Haden Deaton each scored seven.

The Lancers will travel to Taylor on Saturday at 3 p.m. for their first matchup of the year with the Trojans.