Maple Leafs Open Tropf Era By Topping Lawrence Tech
Grider starts senior season with career-high 32 points
By Tony Miller
Sports Information Director
GOSHEN, Ind. — Christian Grider poured in a career-high 32 points and a game-high eight rebounds Tuesday as Goshen College opened its men’s basketball season with an 82-77 win over Lawrence Technological University at Gunden Gymnasium.
Billy Geschke added 18 points for the Maple Leafs (1-0) while Alhassan Barrie and Devin Heath-Granger added 11 apiece. Barrie led all players with four steals and Heath-Granger posted a game-high seven assists to raise his career total to 392.
Grider’s scoring outburst fell two points short of leading all players, however, as Devonte Myles paced Lawrence Tech (0-1) with 34 points. Both teams’ leading scorers were 12-of-21 from the floor: while Grider drained a pair of 3-pointers, Myles made up the difference with a 9-for-10 night at the foul line.
The Blue Devils opened play with the first lead, getting a basket from Myles after 29 seconds, but Heath-Granger would counter with a game-tying bucket at the 18:46 mark. Goshen led from that point forward save for a 15-13 Blue Devil lead around the 15-minute mark of the opening stanza and four ties late in the first half.
Goshen led 42-38 at the intermission, buoyed by 18 points from Grider and an 18-for-35 (51.4 percent) shooting clip from the floor. The Blue Devils dominated the glass by a two-to-one margin but Goshen returned the favor with an 11-3 edge in turnovers.
After four straight points from Heath-Granger closed the half, a Geschke 3-pointer would give GC its largest lead of the game one possession into the second. The Leaf lead reached nine on one of Grider’s triples with 10:50 remaining, but a 4-for-4 mark at the foul line over the next two trips sparked an 8-0 Blue Devil spurs to close within 68-67 three minutes later.
Grider scored Goshen’s next four points sandwiched around a Patryck Ostrowski stuff to stretch the lead back to five at the 6:50 mark: while Lawrence Tech would pull within three points on the succeeding possession, the visitors could get no closer. Geschke, Ostrowski and Conner Funkhouser combined for four foul shots in the final minute to seal the win.
Goshen finished the game shooting 44.8 percent (30-for-67) from the floor and 81 percent (17-of-21) at the foul line, using eight blocks and 17 takeaways to negate a 5-for-23 (21.7 percent) mark from 3-point range. The Maple Leafs also finished with 12 assists against seven turnovers.
Lawrence Tech hit half of its 58 shots and went 17-for-22 (77.3 percent) at the free-throw stripe, but had even worse luck from downtown with a 2-for-13 performance. The Blue Devils couldn’t reprise their first-half rebounding luck a second time, either: while they won the glass 39-30, Goshen tracked down 20 of the 39 caroms after halftime.
With the victory, Goshen interim head coach Jon Tropf becomes the first Maple Leaf men’s basketball coach to start his career with a win over an NAIA foe since Dwight Gingerich’s team topped IU South Bend on November 7, 2000. Since Goshen joined the NAIA in 1970, the only other coaches to start their tenures with defeats of other association members were Ken Pletcher (1976 over Defiance) and Gene Reagan (1979 over Indiana Tech).
Goshen returns to the floor Friday night in its first of seven straight games away from home, taking on Governors State University in the Jaguars’ season-opening tournament in University Park, Illinois. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. EDT after Calumet College of St. Joseph plays Graceland University at 6.