UPLAND, Ind. – The Grace College men’s basketball team picked up their second straight Crossroads League victory with an 81-79 defeat at Taylor on Tuesday.
The Lancers (6-3, 2-0 CL) used a second-half surge, outscoring the Trojans 49-32 after the intermission to remain perfect in early conference play.
Grace won its first two league games for the first time since 2007-08, when current head coach Scott Moore was a senior point guard for the Lancers.
Haden Deaton was a force on Tuesday night with 19 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Jaret Sons added 19 points of his own to go along with six rebounds.
Grace relied on Deaton early in the first half to fuel the offense. Deaton scored or assisted on 15 of the Lancers’ first 23 points.
The teams traded baskets for much of the first half. Neither team was able to grab more than a two-point advantage until late in the first.
The Trojans (5-4, 0-2 CL) found their 3-point stroke late in the half and were able to push their lead to as many as nine. Deaton hit a late 3-pointer to send the game to the half with the Lancers trailing by six 38-32.
The Lancers struggled to find open looks in the opening half, shooting 37 percent and having seven shots blocked. Grace was outrebounded 25-15, allowing eight offensive boards.
Deaton led all players with 15 points and was the only Lancer to score more than one basket in the half.
The Lancers eventually found offensive consistency outside of Deaton. Sons scored five quick points to start the second half and helped the Lancers to draw even at 39-39.
Following a triple from Taylor, Charlie Warner went on a solo 4-0 run to give the Lancers their first lead of the second half at 43-42.
The Trojans built their lead back up to five. But following a timeout from the Lancers, Grace went on a 12-0 run. Sons, Warner and Myles Johnson each buried a 3-pointer during the run to put the Lancers on top 57-50.
Taylor was able to pull within one at 57-56, but it would be the last time they threatened the Lancer lead. Grace answered with a 12-6 surge to go ahead by nine with just under four minutes to play.
Deaton hit a pair of free throws to give the Lancers their largest lead of the game, 73-64.
The Lancers relied on their free throw shooting, 82 percent on the game, to secure the win 81-70.
“Wins are tough to come by in the league, especially road wins. Our guys did a great job of making defensive adjustments in the second half, and I thought that helped fuel our offense,” Moore said. “Martin was big for us defensively tonight, and Myles had the best game of his young career. We will enjoy this tonight but get back to work tomorrow to prepare for Huntington.”
Sons had 17 second-half points to match Deaton for the game high with 19. Johnson just missed his first career double-double with nine points and nine rebounds.
Warner finished with 16 points, and Braxton Linville chipped in seven points and five boards.
Grace shot 47 percent from the field and 41 percent from beyond the arc. The Lancers were much better on the boards in the second half, outrebounding Taylor 20-11 over the final 20 minutes.
Grace will return home to Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center on Saturday to host Huntington (5-4, 1-1 CL) at 3 p.m.