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Lancers tripped up in NCCAA Semifinals to Colorado Christian

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Top-seeded Colorado Christian proved to be too much for Grace’s men’s basketball team on Thursday.

The Lancers lost in the semifinals of the NCCAA National Championships 79-72, ending Grace’s chance at a national title.

Grace will play in the third-place game on Saturday at 10 a.m. against Emmanuel (Ga.).

The Lancers (15-19) gave the NCAA Div. II Cougars all they could handle in Thursday’s semifinal. Despite trailing by 15 at one point in the second half, Grace continued to put up a fight.

Grace started the game sharply thanks to its outside shooting. Stephen Halstead hit two 3-pointers in the first four minutes, and Tre Olive hit another triple to give the Lancers a 15-9 lead.

But the Cougars’ zone defense began to slow down the Lancers; Grace mustered just six points over the next 10 minutes. CCU responded by going on a 25-6 run to take a 13-point lead.

Charlie Warner was Grace’s primary source of offense over the final portion of the first half. The freshman scored 10 points over the final 8:19 of the half, helping Grace cut its deficit to 39-29 by halftime.

The Lancers shot just 33 percent from the floor before halftime while the Cougars made 52 percent.

In the second half, Grace slowly fought back. The Cougars (18-16) scored the first five points of the half to grab a 15-point cushion at 44-29. But the Lancers were far from finished.

Olive hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Lancers a spark, and Grace chipped away at the Cougars’ cushion.

With 8:30 to play, Grace faced an eight-point deficit. But over the next six minutes, the Lancers went on a 10-3 run. Olive scored on consecutive plays, and Logan Godfrey followed that up with baskets on the next two possessions to cut Grace’s deficit to just one at 70-69.

But the Lancers missed their next three field goals, and the Cougars responded by icing the game. CCU scored seven points on its next three possessions to go ahead by seven with 35 seconds left, and the Lancers had to settle for defeat.

Olive led Grace with 21 points and two steals, and Warner tied a career high with 16 points with four 3s.

Godfrey produced a double-double of 13 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, Halstead added 11 points and five assists, and Erik Bowen chipped in 9 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.