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Lancers drop nailbiter to Marian

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s men’s basketball team surrendered a lead in the final minutes to Marian in an 81-76 defeat on Tuesday.

The Lancers (10-17, 3-12 Crossroads League) managed to erase an 11-point deficit in the second half, but Grace was unable to finish off the comeback against Marian.

Both teams started the game sharply on offense. Grace made its first six field goals, and Marian started 5-of-6 from the floor.

The Lancers pulled ahead 13-9 early, but the lead was short-lived. Grace’s offense hit a rut in the middle portion of the half, allowing Marian to build a lead.

The Knights (18-9, 8-7 CL), who are receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches’ Poll, held Grace to six points over the next 10 minutes.

Marian hit two 3-pointers late in the first half, allowing the Knights to enter halftime with a 35-28 advantage. The Lancers (52 percent) shot better from the floor than the Knights (46 percent), but Marian made five triples before halftime while Grace could only hit one.

Early in the second half, Logan Godfrey gave Grace a boost with six straight points. Jaret Sons followed that up with a 3-pointer to slice Marian’s lead down to three.

But the Knights responded with a 7-0 run and eventually led by 11. Marian still held a 10-point cushion with 7:49 to play in the game, but Grace showed resolve to fight back.

Charlie Warner and Sons started Grace’s rally, combining for nine points over the next 3:31. Godfrey then hit a jumper to cut Marian’s lead down to two, and after another defensive stop Sons drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key to put the Lancers ahead 70-69 with 2:03 left on the clock.

Marian was forced to call timeout, and the Knights calmly retook the lead on the next possession. Godfrey hit 1-of-2 from the foul line to tie the game with 1:23 remaining, but Marian scored again to go ahead by two.

Grace went cold down the stretch, coming up empty on its next three possessions. The Knights secured the win by going 8-of-8 from the free throw line in the last minute.

Godfrey racked up 23 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks, and Warner scored all 16 of his points after halftime to go along with four rebounds and two assists.

Sons tallied 12 of his 14 points in the second half, Matt Jennings added 10 points, and Braxton Linville chipped in four points and seven assists.

Grace shot better than 50 percent from the floor in both halves and finished 51 percent for the game. Marian shot 49 percent as a team and made 10 more free throws than Grace.

The Lancers will hit the road on Saturday, traveling to Spring Arbor for a doubleheader with the women.