Shooting off the mark in Grace’s loss
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – A hot start for Grace’s men’s basketball team did not last against Mt. Vernon Nazarene. The Lancers’ shooting touch was off on Saturday, resulting in an 84-78 defeat.
The Lancers (12-6, 5-4 Crossroads League) shot a woeful 19 percent on 3-pointers in the game (5 of 27), which included a 1-of-14 performance (7 percent) after halftime.
The Cougars (4-7, 4-4 CL) made 49 percent of their shots from the floor and 48 percent from beyond the arc.
Grace began the game with confidence, coming off a 20-point rout of MVNU three days ago. The Lancers scored the first 11 points of the game.
The Cougars did not register a point for the first 4:24 of regulation when they already faced an 11-0 deficit.
But MVNU rallied back largely on the back of its 3-point shooting. The Cougars made seven 3-pointers over the next eight minutes, managing to claim a 25-23 lead.
The teams exchanged small leads for the final minutes of the half with the Cougars owning a slight 38-37 edge at halftime.
Grace (48 percent) actually outshot MVNU (43 percent) from the floor in the half, but the Cougars sank 58 percent of their 3-pointers. The Lancers, on the other hand, shot 31 percent on triples (4 of 13).
Cade Gibbs scored 11 points to lead Grace at the half, and Frankie Davidson added eight points on 3 of 4 shooting.
Jake Wadding started the second half with a bucket to put Grace ahead, but MVNU countered with six unanswered to grab a five-point edge.
The Cougars continued to gain confidence. MVNU slowly added to its lead, grabbing a 67-52 lead with nine minutes to play.
With 2:40 remaining in the game, Grace still trailed by 11. But the Lancers had one more charge up their sleeves.
Grace implemented a fullcourt press, creating a pair of quick turnovers and baskets.
With just over a minute left, Matt Jennings scored a layup and was fouled which cut MVNU’s lead down to three.
Grace forced a missed shot by the Cougars to gain possession of the ball, but the Lancers misfired on a potential game-tying triple. MVNU was sent to the foul line down the stretch and hit enough free throws to ice the win.
Wadding was a stat stuffer, amassing 18 points, 8 rebounds, 5 steals, 3 blocks and 2 assists, and Gibbs finished with 17 points and seven boards before fouling out.
Jennings tallied 13 points, 3 assists and 2 steals, and Davidson had 12 points and eight rebounds.
Haden Deaton had 4 points, 5 assists and 4 boards, and Elijah Malone added 6 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.
Next up, Grace faces its most challenging stretch of games for the season. The Lancers will play five straight NAIA ranked opponents, beginning at No. 8 Marian on Wednesday. Grace’s next home game is Jan. 30 against rival No. 19 Bethel.