No. 1 Wildcats pull away from Lancers
MARION, Ind. – Grace’s men’s basketball team could not complete the season sweep of No. 1 Indiana Wesleyan, losing 108-81 on Saturday.
The Wildcats (26-1, 13-1 Crossroads League) avenged their only loss of the season, which Grace handed to them on Jan. 6.
The Lancers (13-9, 6-7 CL) were within single digits with eight minutes remaining in the contest. But the Wildcats went on a massive run over the closing minutes, and Grace did not have an answer.
Grace started the game by scoring six straight points, thanks to buckets from Jake Wadding, Elijah Malone and Haden Deaton.
The Lancers maintained a small lead for much of the first half. The Wildcats did not lead until there were six minutes to go before halftime.
Grace shot better than IWU in the first half from the floor (49 percent to 46 percent) and from the 3-point line (27 percent to 20 percent).
But the Wildcats claimed a 40-38 lead at halftime, in large part thanks to committing just four turnovers.
Wadding tied for scoring honors in the first half with 10 points, and Deaton added eight points.
The Wildcats maintained a slight advantage in the first five minutes of the second half. Grace trailed by three, but IWU pulled ahead 73-58 with 10 minutes to go.
Wadding and Matt Jennings combined to score six straight points, slicing IWU’s lead down to 73-64 with 8:30 on the clock.
But IWU took over down the stretch. The Wildcats unleashed a 31-9 run over the next seven minutes, cruising to a victory.
Grace struggled with ball control mightily after halftime. The Lancers turned the ball over 12 times in the second half, directly leading to 24 points for IWU.
For the game, Grace shot 45 percent from the floor but just 23 percent (5 of 22) from beyond the arc. IWU made 62 percent of its field goals, including an incredible 77 percent (27 of 25) performance in the second half.
Grace had five players score in double figures. Deaton tallied 16 points and three rebounds, and Wadding finished with 16 points, 7 boards and 2 assists.
Cade Gibbs scored 12 points in his first game back from injury, and Elijah Malone finished with 12 points and 7 boards.
Jennings tallied 10 points, 6 boards and 2 assists, and Jakob Gibbs finished with seven points.
The Lancers return home on Wednesday for a showdown with No. 18 Marian at 7 p.m.