Winona Lake, IN-The honors are beginning to pour in for the big man from Grace College. Wednesday Gaff was named as a 1st Team All-American performer to go with his NAIA All-Tournament selection. Gaff led the Grace College Lancers to their third straight 20-win season and an 11-5 finish in the Mid-Central College Conference.
Eric led the country in rebounds throughout the entire season (12.2) and double-doubles (24) while averaging 21.0 points per game. Grace finished their season in their second straight showing in the NAIA National Tournaments "elite eight" round before being eliminated by #5 seeded team Black Hills State (S.D.).
The Lancers big man was also a 1st Team selection in the Mid-Central College Conference this year after a 2nd Team selection as a junior. Eric finishes his career 10th on the all-time scoring list with 1,912 points and 2nd on the all-time rebounding list with 1,219. He is only the seventh player to record over 1,000 points and rebounds in a career. Gaff is the Lancers first All-American 1st Team selection since Matt Abernethy in 2003.
Eric is a graduate of Concord High School in Elkhart, Indiana.
POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. - #5 Black Hill State (S.D.) earns its first ever trip to the Final Four as they hung on to defeat unseeded Grace (Ind.), 77-73. In the process, the Yellow Jackets won their 15th straight game and have not lost since Jan. 17.
After Grace held the early advantage (10-6), Black Hill State went on a 19-5 run to open up a 25-15 lead. Grace responded with an 8-4 run of its own to cut it to six (29-23) but Black Hills State closed the half with a 12-2 over the final five minutes to take a commanding 41-25 halftime lead. Aaron Sutton led BHSU with 10 first half points and the Yellow Jackets held Grace to just 26% from the field in the first half.
Black Hills State threatened to blow the game open in the early stages of the second half as they led by as much as 17. Much like Bellevue (Neb.) did in the first game of the day, Grace mounted a furious comeback and after a basket by Lancers forward Derek Johnson, the lead was down to two (51-49) win 10 minutes left. Moments later, Grace came all the way back to tie it at 62 before Black Hills State hit three straight three-pointers, two by guard Cain Atkinson, to cap a decisive 9-2 run which clinched the win for the Yellow Jackets.
Atkinson scored 14 of his team-high 15 points in the second half, which included a trio of three-pointers. Luke Enos scored 13 points while Aaron Sutton chipped in 12. Black Hills State shot 48% for the game and went 11-for-25 from the three-point line.
Grace was led by Derek Johnson with 17 points and six rebounds. Eric Gaff closes his brilliant career with 14 points and seven boards, breaking his string of two straight double-doubles. After struggling from the field in the first half, Grace shot 59% in the second and 42% for the game. The Lancers fall in the quarterfinals for the second straight year and end the season with a 22-11 overall record.
POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. -Behind a dominant advantage on the boards, Grace (Ind.) stays alive for at least one more game in the 2009 NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Championship. The Lancers held a plus-29 edge in total rebounds and held on against Ottawa (Kan.), 75-67, in the second round. The 18th annual event is being held at the Keeter Gymnasium on the campus of the College of the Ozarks (Mo.).
Grace moves into the Quarterfinals with a date against No. 5 Black Hills State (S.D.) on Saturday (March 14) at 3 p.m. CST. The contest tomorrow is the Lancers second straight trip to the Quarterfinal round and third overall - the first year was back in 1992 when they won the national title.
The offense was hard to come by for Ottawa in the early going. Phil McClintock broke a 3:29 scoreless drought with a basket at the 16:30 mark. At that point, Grace led 5-2. Grace extended that margin to 30-17 under four minutes left in the first half on a field goal by Michael Wienhorst. Ottawa rallied behind McClintock's five points late to trail 30-26 at the half.
Ottawa made a rally in the second half but Grace's inside presence was too much down the stretch. The Braves of OU stayed close thanks in large part to handling the ball. Ottawa totaled just five turnovers
For Grace, Eric Gaff notched is NAIA-leading 24th double-double of the year with 15 points and 16 rebounds. He also added four blocks. David Swanson led a group of four players with 18 points and 11 boards. That effort was his 12th double-double this year.
McClintock reached 29 points on 12-for-20 shooting. His scoring total was five points from a season-high and was his 14th straight game over 10 points. David Birch added 15 points but was just 4-for-18 from the floor. Ottawa, who knocked off No. 4 Walsh (Ohio) yesterday, ends its season at 19-14 overall and puts a wrap on its fifth Championship appearance.
Point Lookout, Mo. - Unseeded Grace College (Ind.) continued the upset trend with an 82-72 come-from-behind win over #13 Warner Pacific (Ore.) in the opening round of the 2009 NAIA D-II men's basketball national championships. T
he 18th-annual event is being held at the Keeter Gymnasium on the campus of the College of the Ozarks (Mo.). Both teams were making their fourth national tournament appearance and qualified via at-large berths.
Warner Pacific led by as much as eight early on behind the inside/outside duo of Aukai Wong and Adam Moore who scored 14 and 13 points in the opening half respectively. Grace came back to tie the game at 44 by halftime.
The Knights began the second half with a 12-4 run and still led by six (68-62) with eight minutes left to play. Grace clamped down defensively and gave up just four points over the final eight minutes to trigger a decisive 20-4 run to seal the 82-72 win.
Eric Gaff, one of the NAIA's top scorers and nation's leading rebounder, led the Lancers with 22 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots. David Swanson also registered the double-double with 17 points and 10 boards. Grace shot an impressive 23-of-28 from the foul line and held a 39-32 advantage on the glass.
Warner Pacific placed four players in double figures, led by Adam Moore with 21 points. Kaylone Riley, the Cascade Collegiate Conference defensive player-of-the-year, totaled 15 points, five boards and three assists before fouling out. Aukai Wong scored all of his 14 points in the first half. The Knights shot 44% but made just 1-of-3 free throws for the game. Warner Pacific ends the season with a 21-9 record.
Grace moves on to the second round for the second straight year where they will play Ottawa (Kan.) on Friday at 1:45 p.m. The 32-team, single elimination tournament concludes March 17, 2009.
Winona Lake, IN-Sit and wait. That is all the Grace College men's basketball team could do as numerous conference tournaments finished up across the country Tuesday night. Once again it came down to the final few games as the Lancer basketball team awaited their fate in the national tournament landscape. Wednesday afternoon they received notification that they had received the ninth at-large berth out of ten available in the upcoming NAIA national tournament.
"What a great opportunity for this group of young men," said head coach Jim Kessler. "They have fought through so much adversity and truly deserve a chance to play for a national championship."
Last season Grace was in a similar position, earning one of the final at-large spots before blazing a path all the way to the "elite eight" game. The Lancers lost to eventual national champion Oregon Tech in a hard fought battle.
"It has been something this team has earned through the grind of the season," said assistant coach Matt Moore. "Our players and staff work hard at doing things the right way, in a Christ-like manner and it is fun to see rewards like this come our way."
Grace (20-10) returns to the national scene for the second consecutive season after a fifteen year drought following the 1992-93 season. Grace won the NAIA title in 1992 and returned the following season as a top seed, and it was not until last year that the Lancers appeared on the nation scene with the chance to play for a NAIA national title.
"I am very excited for our men's basketball program to experience the NAIA National Tournament once again," said Grace College Athletic Director Chad Briscoe. "Our players and coaching staff always represents Grace College in a first class manner both on and off the court. Their opportunity to live their faith on a national level is something we are very excited to see take place."
Grace will find out who their opponent Thursday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. The tournament kicks off Wednesday March 11th at 8:30 a.m. You can listen live to the Lancers via stretch internet on the Grace College web site.
Winona Lake, IN--Wednesday the MCC tournament kicked off with the Grace College Lancers and the Huntington University Foresters. After a forty minute battle the Foresters escaped the Orthopaedic Capital Center the victors in a 76-73 upset of #20 Grace.
The first half saw both teams struggle from the field as Grace held a slight 13-8 lead seven minutes into the game. The Lancers extended their lead to nine points at 19-10 before the Foresters closed on a 10-4 run to cut the deficit to 23-20 Lancers. Grace would go cold from the field the remaining six minutes of the first half as the Foresters went into the locker room 32-31.
In the first half the Lancers shot an abysmal 27-percent (9-33) from the field while committing ten turnovers.
To start the second half Huntington scored to take their largest lead of the game at 34-31. Grace then went on a 20-4 run over the next 4:17 to take a thirteen point lead 51-38. The Foresters continued to fight as they clawed their way back to a two possession game after connecting on back-to-back three pointers with 8:59 to play. The Lancers scored their final basket of the game at the 4:25 mark as the Foresters took advantage of the offensive miscues of Grace. Huntington got a defensive stand and was in position to hold for the final shot with: 27 seconds to play.
Out of the time out Grace trapped HU but a runner by Tyler Shively dropped in to give HU a one point lead with: 14 seconds to play. The Lancers turned over the ball in transition and fouled right away. After connecting on both free throws the Lancers drew up a final shot and it worked to perfect as David Henry had an uncontested three pointer with: 05 that missed right as HU gathered the rebound.
"Tonight we just didn't defend in the second half and really lacked execution at the offensive end," said Lancer head coach Jim Kessler. "We work on situations in practice all week and when they arise we don't execute them worth a hoot and you see the result."
Eric Gaff led the Lancers with 19 points and 22 rebounds as he moved into the top 10 in scoring and 2nd all-time in rebounding for Grace. Senior Michael Wienhorst scored a team high 22 points, 17 of which came in the second half. Grace is now out of MCC play and will hope for an at-large berth in the NAIA National Tournament.
Winona Lake, IN-For the Grace College men's basketball team it has been a special season. After graduating four seniors from last year's 26-10 Elite Eight team and losing another senior guard to an injury the Lancers remain in the national scene ranked #20 in this week's NAIA poll. The 20-9 Lancers also finished with an 11-5 record in Mid-Central College Conference play which is the same record they had last season.
Monday five members of the Grace team were recognized for their efforts this year on the basketball court. Senior Eric Gaff was selected as a first team all-conference. Gaff, who was honorable mention as a freshman, third team as a sophomore, second team as a junior, has completed the cycle.
"It has been fun to watch Eric develop as a basketball player," said head coach Jim Kessler. "He was a gangly kid with a lot of potential coming out of Concord High School and he has worked hard to be where he is at."
Coach Kessler received the Coach of the Year in the conference, something he has not done in over fifteen years. Kessler is also approaching another milestone as he sits at 590 career victories. Coming into the season he was 11th among active coaches in total wins.
Junior David Swanson and senior Michael Wienhorst also were honored for their play this season. Swanson was selected as a third team member as Wienhorst was selected to the honorable mention team. Both Swanson and Wienhorst played significant roles in the Lancers success this season.
Freshman Derek Johnson, from Jimtown High School, was named to the All-Newcomer team. Standing six feet eleven inches, Johnson has the shooting touch of a guard. He ranks third on the team in field goal percentage in just his first season.
Grace still has hopes of making it back to the NAIA National Tournament which is in Branson, Missouri March 11-17. Grace will play through the MCC tournament with the hope of earning the automatic berth, otherwise Grace will look to earn an at-large berth. The Lancers host Huntington University Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.
Player of the Year: William Walker, Bethel
Newcomer of the Year: Landon Adler, Indiana Wesleyan
Coach of the Year: Jim Kessler, Grace
William Walker, Bethel
Eric Gaff, Grace
DeJovaun Sawyer-Davis, St. Francis
Antonio Murrell, Indiana Wesleyan
Errick McCollum, Goshen
Zach Coverstone, Indiana Wesleyan
Ryne Lightfoot, Bethel
Kyle Benge, Huntington
Rob Boss, Spring Arbor
Landon Adler, Indiana Wesleyan
David Swanson, Grace
Kevin Kyle, Huntington
Tyler Brown, Bethel
Jordan Tucker, Marian
Nate Bojrab, St. Francis
Tyler Shively, Huntington
Landon Adler, Indiana Wesleyan
Jameson Wheeler, Marian
Duke Johnson, Grace
Derrick Troyer, Indiana Wesleyan
Ferdinand Morales-Soto, St. Francis
Marion, IN--The Grace College Lancers fell behind in the first half of Tuesday's matchup at Indiana Wesleyan as they couldn't overcome the hot shooting of the Wildcats. IWU connected on 11 three pointers and pulled away late to beat the Lancers 82-70.
In the first half of action IWU jumped out to an early 14 point lead behind the shooting of Jon Moon who landed four three pointers in the first ten minutes of play. Grace was able to keep it around ten points with the inside play of Eric Gaff who finished with 16 points. The Lancers trailed 37-23 at the break and only shot 41-percent from the field while the Wildcats shot 54-percent from the floor.
In the second half the Lancers were able to get the game back to a three possession game but could not convert at the defensive end to get any closer. IWU continued to shoot well by hitting four more threes with the shot clock expiring. The Lancers had to foul late in an attempt to extend the game but Wesleyan went 17-of-22 from the free throw line as the Lancers only went 5-for-10.
"It was a tough night for us at the defensive end of the floor," said Lancer head coach Jim Kessler. "They played well but when you give rhythm jump shots to a good shooting team that is on us. It was still a game with three minutes to play but we just couldn't put together scores with our defensive stops."
The Lancers close out their regular season at 20-9 and 11-5 in MCC play. The Lancers finish alone in third place and will host a home game in the MCC tournament beginning on Wednesday February 25th.
Winona Lake, IN--The Grace College men's basketball team won their 20th game of the season Saturday afternoon in front of a packed OCC, 75-58 over the University of St. Francis. It was also a special day for seniors Eric Gaff and Michael Wienhorst who were honored prior to the game for senior day.
The Lancers jumped out to an early 7-0 lead behind an Eric Gaff layup and a David Henry three pointer. St. Francis battled back midway through the first half to take their first lead of the game at 24-23. The Cougars held on to the lead heading into the break at 36-31.
To start the second half USF extended their advantage to nine points but the Lancers rallied behind a 44 point second half effort to pull away for the win. Grace was able to gradually extend their lead from the 12 minute mark on by holding the Cougars scoreless for nearly five minutes. Grace outscored St. Francis 44-22 in the second half for the 75-58 win.
"We were two different teams tonight," said head coach Jim Kessler. "In the second half we defended, we got the ball inside and made some shots which was the difference,"
For the game the Lancers held a solid Cougar team to only 35-percent shooting from the field including 19-percent from behind the arc. The Lancers connected on 50-percent from the field and 33-percent from three while dishing out 22 assists.
Senior Eric Gaff led the way with 19 points and 14 rebounds, his 21st double-double of the year. Sophomore David Henry chipped in 17 points by connecting on 3 three pointers and David Swanson just missed a double-double with 14 points and 8 rebounds.
The victory moves Grace to 20-8 on the season and 11-4 in MCC play, match last season's win total in conference. It is the third consecutive season the team has won twenty or more games for the first time since the early 1980's. Grace will close out their regular season on Tuesday against #7 Indiana Wesleyan on the road. Tip off begins at 7:00 p.m.
Winona Lake, IN--The Grace College men's basketball team found a way to win Tuesday night without their top performer, Eric Gaff, dominating the paint. The Lancers defeated Spring Arbor 65-60 behind a 20 point 18 rebound effort from junior forward David Swanson.
In the first half neither team was able to grab hold of the game as the Lancers led by six at 26-20 before surrendering the lead by two over the next three minutes of play. Spring Arbor was not able to capitalize on the poor Grace shooting, as the Lancers took a 32-29 advantage into the locker room at the break.
In the first half Grace shot only 37-percent (11-29) while the Cougars connected on 42-percent (11-26).
David Henry was able to leak out on a Cougar miss to open the second half for a quick Grace basket to push the lead to five at 34-29. Over the next three minutes Spring Arbor was able to lock the score back up at 37-37. SAU took advantage of the Lancers misfortune at the offensive end by extending their lead to four points with 11:28 to play.
Grace was able to put together an 11-2 over a six minute period from 10:38 to 4:01 to take a 55-50 lead which was enough cushion for the win.
"We struggled to be productive at the offensive end tonight but we found a way to win," said head coach Jim Kessler. "We were able to limit our turnovers tonight and did a great job on the boards which was the difference."
Grace moves to 19-8 on the season with the win over Spring Arbor and 10-4 in MCC play. The Lancers will look to close out their home regular season on Saturday as the St. Francis Cougars come to the OCC. It will also be senior day for Lancer seniors Eric Gaff and Michael Wienhorst.
Upland, IN--Saturday afternoon the Grace College men's basketball team did something they had not done in almost nine season which was win on the road at Taylor University. Grace defeated the host Trojans 70-52 Saturday to sweep the season series between the two rivals.
Grace opened the game up 15-3 behind the hot shooting of sophomore guard David Henry who connected on three straight three pointers. The Lancers maintained a ten to twelve point lead throughout most of the first half taking a 33-21 lead into the break.
Coming out for the second half Taylor was never able to cut the lead any closer than 11 points. The Lancers continued to run extending their lead to 26 points at 64-38 with 4:00 to play.
"We played with a sense of urgency today," said head coach Jim Kessler. "I thought David Henry did a great job on taking shots within the offense and Eric went to work in the paint."
For the game Grace shot 60-percent from the field while connecting on 6-of-11 from down town. David Henry led the Lancers with 19 points, 15 of which came from beyond the arc. Eric Gaff collected his 20th double-double of the year with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Duke Johnson scored 12 points in 18 minutes of action off the bench for Grace.
The Lancers move to 18-8 on the year and 9-4 in MCC play with three games remaining in the regular season. Grace welcomes Spring Arbor on Tuesday for a 7:00 p.m. tip off.
GOSHEN, Ind. - The Goshen Maple Leafs handed the Grace Lancers their fourth conference loss on Tuesday night as the Leafs defeated Grace 88-75 in Goshen.
Goshen forced the Lancers to 18 turnovers, while holding Grace to just 41-percent from the floor for the game. The Leafs also out rebounded Grace by a 39-33 count and 14-9 on the offensive end.
Looking to avenge a loss a month ago, the Lancers came out strong and led by as many as eight in the first half. A 10-2 run, however, got the Leafs right back in the game and an Errick McCollum dunk in the final seconds of the first half gave Goshen a narrow 33-32 halftime advantage.
The Leafs would never give up the lead and used a 10-0 run to open a 13-point lead five minutes into the second half. Grace would not go away, though, as they cut the deficit to as few as five. But in the second half Goshen went to the free throw line 31 times while connecting on 75-percent for the game to keep the Lancers at bay.
"When you don't' come to play in this league every night you can be beaten," said head coach Jim Kessler "Tonight we got beat by a team that played harder than us at both end. We got what we deserved."
Grace was led by Eric Gaff with 24 points and 12 rebounds as freshman Dayton Merrell added 12 points off the bench. The Lancers fall to 17-8 on the year and 8-4 in MCC play. Grace travels to Taylor on Saturday for a showdown with the Trojans.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Eric Gaff of Grace (Ind.) College has been selected as the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball Player of the Week for the week, Mid-Central College Conference Player of the Week, and NCCAA Player of the week.
Gaff, a 6-10 senior center from Elkhart, Ind., reached for two more double-doubles in two wins last week for Grace. In the 72-61 victory over Marian (Ind.), Eric netted 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. He added four blocks and three assists while shooting 13-for-18 from the floor. Four nights later against Huntington (Ind.), he finished with 27 points on 8-of-11 shooting and snatched 13 caroms. He also chipped in with seven assists and four more blocks.
For the week, he averaged 29.5 points, 12.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 4.0 blocks and shot 72 percent (21-of-29) from the field. He now stands with 19 double-doubles on the year in 25 games.
On the season Gaff has recorded a nation leading 19 double-doubles and has scored a career 1,773 points while grabbing 1,120 career rebounds. Eric is 14th all-time in scoring at Grace and 4th all-time in rebounding. Among NAIA statistical leaders, he is first in the nation in rebounding (12.1 rpg), 10th in scoring (21.7 ppg) and 11th in blocks (1.8 bpg).
Winona Lake, IN--The Grace men's basketball team out-lasted the Huntington University Foresters on Saturday 101-77.
Grace opened the game with a 9-4 spurt behind transition baskets and quick scores. The Foresters answer over the next three minutes by taking a one point lead with a 6-1 run for a 10-9 advantage. It was Huntington's only lead of the basketball game with the Lancers taking a ten point lead with 8:41 to play in the first half.
Huntington changed their defense to a zone in order to slow the Lancer attack with 6:32 to play, but Michael Wienhorst connected on a three pointer from the left wing to push the Lancer advantage to 31-19. The next three possessions, Grace connected on three straight three point baskets, two by David Henry and one by Dayton Merrell.
"The four three pointers we hit in the first half during that stretch really opened up the game," said head coach Jim Kessler. "They had to make an adjustment because we were scoring in the post and when they did the three balls started falling."
Grace took a 49-33 lead into the locker room at the half.
In the second half the Foresters were able to cut the Lancer lead to 13 points at 56-43 with 17:10 to play but Grace answered with a 20-10 run over the next six minutes. Grace put the game out of reach with 4:00 minutes to play on an Eric Gaff three point play, cruising to a 101-77 victory
On the day Michael Wienhorst led the way with 28 points and Eric Gaff scored 27 while grabbed 13 rebounds. Grace made 10-of-18 three pointers on the day after shooting only 1-for-15 in Tuesday's game.
Grace will travel to Goshen on Tuesday for a rematch with the Maple Leafs starting at 7:00 p.m.
Winona Lake, IN--Tuesday night the Grace men's basketball team got back on track with a 72-61 victory over the Marian Knights.
The Knights jumped out with the games first basket by Jordan Tucker but it was answered on the next possession by Grace's David Swanson for a 2-2 tie. From there both teams traded baskets with the Lancers holding as much as a four point lead at 24-20 before the Knights answered with an 8-0 run over the next three minutes. The Lancers clung to a 31-28 lead heading into the break.
Coming out of halftime, Grace went on a 9-2 run for a 40-30 lead with 16:52 to play. Marian rallied over the next seven possessions to tie the game at 42-42. The Lancers Eric Gaff scored the next two possessions for Grace to edge the Grace lead back to four points at 46-42 with 13:42 to play.
"Tonight we had to dig a little deeper," said head coach Jim Kessler. "Eric played like he wanted the ball and we were able to dominate the basket area despite a poor shooting night."
Over the final ten minutes of action Grace held Marian to just 14 points as they scored 24 to extend their lead to double figures. On the night for Grace, Gaff scored 32 points while collecting 11 rebounds. David Swanson added 12 points and 8 rebounds and sophomore Jacob Peattie came off the bench to help on the defensive end while scoring 4 points to go with 4 assists.
With the win the Lancers move to 16-7 and 7-3 in Mid-Central College Conference play. Grace is currently in second place, just one game out of first. The Lancers will host Huntington University at the OCC on Saturday with a 3:00 p.m. tip off.
Mishawaka, IN--It was an atmosphere that was electric from before warm-ups, Saturday at Bethel College that saw the #21 Grace Lancers at the #1 Bethel Pilots. A rivalry that has been legendary in the MCC for years, but Saturday afternoon it was a one sided affair as the Pilots defeated Grace 81-61.
To open the game Bethel took a 2-0 lead after a William Walker layup. Grace came down and rimmed out their first attempt, an Eric Gaff layup. Both teams traded possessions without scoring before the Pilots opened up a 7-2 lead. Grace made a quick recovery with an 8-4 spurt to bring the contest to 11-10 Bethel.
From there it was all Pilots as they went on a 10-0 run on the following four possessions, all of which were three pointers off Lancer turnovers. Grace slowly chipped away behind the play of freshman Derek Johnson as he scored nine points off the bench, cutting the lead back to six points with 8:05 to play in the first half.
Bethel extended their lead to sixteen points heading into the break at 42-26 as the Lancers committed 13 turnovers and had given up eleven offensive rebounds. In the second half Grace was able to cut the Bethel lead to 13 points at 49-36 before a Caleb Laidig three pointer pushed the lead back and out of reach.
"Their pressure and ability to extend really hurt us tonight," said head coach Jim Kessler. "They did a good job of not allowing us to play in any type of a rhythm and limited our post touches. We were not at our best tonight and they were."
On the night Eric Gaff and David Swanson led the Lancers with 13 points each with Swanson grabbing 7 rebounds and Gaff pulling in 6. Freshman Derek Johnson also performed well, as the big man chipped in 9 points and three rebounds in 19 minutes of play.
Grace will look to remain in second place in the Mid-Central College Conference on Tuesday against the Marian Knights at 7:00 p.m.
Winona Lake, IN-The Grace College men's basketball team has had their challenges this season at home holding a 7-4 record this season at the OCC, after only losing once at home last year. Saturday afternoon the Lancers welcomed the #6 team in the country, Indiana Wesleyan to the Orthopaedic Capital Center and Grace took the Wildcats to the limit winning 85-80 in overtime.
The first half saw Grace jump out to an early 6-5 advantage before going on an 11-4 spurt to extend the lead to 17-9 with 10:11 to play. IWU quickly cut the Lancer lead to one point over the next four possessions at 19-18 behind a three point field goal by Landon Adler.
Both teams traded baskets over the final eight minutes to take a 36-36 tie going in at the half. To begin the second half both teams traded baskets for the first 12:00 minutes of play, with no team taking a lead larger than three points. Senior Michael Wienhorst broke through for the Lancers connecting on back-to-back three pointers to push the Lancer lead to five points at 65-60 with 5:39 to play. IWU once again clawed back to tie the contest at 69-69 at the 3:14 mark.
With the game knotted at 71-71, IWU held for the final shot as Antonio Murrell was fouled with :04 seconds to play. Murrell missed both free throws and Kyle Plumlee's half court prayer was just short, sending the game into overtime.
In overtime it was Eric Gaff time as the Lancer big man scored six points and grabbed two key rebounds as the Lancers never trailed in overtime. The game saw 14 ties to go with 25 lead changes on the night.
"Our kids showed that they belong tonight," said head coach Jim Kessler. "Wesleyan is a great team and we stood toe to toe with them and didn't back down. What a ball game."
On the night the Lancers put five players in double figures, led by Eric Gaff with 24 points and 9 rebounds. Junior David Swanson scored 21 points while snagging 14 rebounds as Wienhorst, Henry, and Plumlee all added 10 points each.
The victory moves the Lancers to 15-6 on the season and 6-2 in MCC play. Grace is sitting in second place just a game back of Bethel College. The Lancers will play at Bethel on Saturday January 24th in a 3:00 p.m. showdown.
Fort Wayne, IN-It was not the script that Lancers head coach Jim Kessler had in mind when he got off the bus Tuesday night at the University of St. Francis for the Lancers showdown with the Cougars. After leading by as many as ten points in the second half the Lancers fell behind in overtime by three points but rallied to win 73-72 behind a Kyle Plumlee jumper with :24 seconds to play, and held on for the win.
Grace led the entire first half behind the play of junior David Swanson and senior Eric Gaff. The duo dominated the paint by scoring 22 points and grabbing 9 rebounds between them. The Lancers held a 39-35 advantage at the break.
In the second half USF closed the Grace lead to one point at 53-52 before the Lancers answered with a 6-0 spurt to push their advantage back to seven points. In the closing minutes of regulation, Grace turned the ball over due to the Cougar pressure which allowed St. Francis to tie the game at 66-66 at the end of regulation.
In overtime Grace scored the first basket on a Kyle Plumlee drive but St. Francis answered with a 5-0 run to lead 71-68 with just 2:21 to play. After four Gaff free throws the Lancers stole the inbounds pass and called a timeout. Out of the timeout St. Francis went to a zone and Plumlee was able to penetrate and score the go-ahead jumper shot.
In their final possession, the Cougars never were able to get a clean look at the basket as Michael Wienhorst knocked the ball loose with time expiring.
Gaff led the way with 27 points and 10 rebounds while Swanson finished with 15 points and 9 rebounds. The win for Grace moves the Lancers to 14-6 overall and 5-2 in MCC play. They sit in third place in the Mid-Central College Conference, just one game out of first place. Grace returns to action on Saturday at home against #6 Indiana Wesleyan in the OCC.
Spring Arbor, MI--Despite the snowy weather and the chilly temperatures outside, the confines of the Spring Arbor gymnasium was heating up Saturday afternoon in MCC action. The #13 Cougars welcomed the Lancers of Grace College as Grace led from tip to the final horn to escape with a 77-76 victory.
The Lancers mounted an eight point led early behind their big man Eric Gaff. Gaff was dominated in the first half with 14 points and 8 rebounds. Grace shot 62-percent from the field in the first stanza behind three deep three pointers from sophomore David Henry as Grace led 45-36 at the break.
In the second half, the Lancers advantage remained 8-to-10 points for a majority of the half before the Cougars closed the gap to one point at 57-56. After a Grace time out the Lancers answered with an 8-0 run over the next three minutes.
With just under ten minutes to play, junior Kyle Plumlee saw his first action in over a week for Grace. Plumlee, who had been nursing an injury came off the bench and limited the Spring Arbor guard's penetration and was a calming presence for the Lancers down the stretch.
In the closing seconds Grace had the ball up by one point with 5.5 seconds remaining. On the inbound, senior Michael Wienhorst was pushed to the floor, on an attempt at a Cougar steal and knocked the ball out of bounds under Spring Arbor's basket. The Cougars triggered the inbound and the Lancers put up a huge defensive stand as D.J. Baisden's attempt fell short.
"I thought different people made plays when they needed to be made," said head coach Jim Kessler. "At the end we wanted to throw the ball deep but the only option that appeared open was Mike in the coffin corner and good things don't happen there, but we pulled it out."
Grace moves to 3rd place in the MCC at 4-2 and 13-6 on the year. The Lancers put four players in double figures with Eric Gaff (21), David Swanson (15), Michael Wienhorst (13), and David Henry (10). Grace will play at St. Francis on Tuesday.
Winona Lake, IN--Grace men's basketball head coach Jim Kessler was able to do something in Tuesday's game he has not done in sometime against Paul Patterson's team...clear his bench. The Lancers overwhelmed Taylor in Tuesday's MCC matchup with a 71-48 pounding of the Trojans. Kessler cleared his bench at around the five minute mark with a 65-35 advantage.
The Lancers jumped out to an early 13-4 lead behind two baskets from Eric Gaff and David Swanson. Grace led by 13 points at the half 36-23 as there were only two free throws taken in the entire first half between both teams.
Taylor came out of the break scoring the first basket of the second half but Grace's Michael Wienhorst answered with one of his three three-point field goals in the second half. Grace was able to quickly extend their advantage to twenty points at 47-27 just four minutes into the second half.
From there the Lancer defense held strong, limiting Taylor to 35-percent shooting in the second half without giving up a three-pointer. On the night Taylor shot 37-percent from the field and just 7-percent from behind the arc.
For the Lancers Eric Gaff had his usual night of 28 points and 11 rebounds in 33 minutes of play. In double figures with Gaff was Wienhorst with 13 points and David Swanson with 12 points and 8 rebounds. Sophomore David Henry played the point guard position for injured Kyle Plumlee as Henry dished out eight assists without committing a turnover. Junior Ryan Eakins also gave great minutes off the bench for the Lancers.
"Today was a statement game for our guys," said head coach Jim Kessler. "It was time to put up or shut up for our men and they took a very solid Taylor team out of the game early in the second half. I thought our big men played with some passion and our guards did a great job of distributing the ball."
Grace moves to 12-6 on the year and 3-2 in conference play as they head to Spring Arbor on Saturday to play the MCC's top team.
Winona Lake, IN--Saturday afternoon the Grace College men's basketball was back in action against conference foe Goshen College and the Maple Leafs stole a victory at the OCC defeating Grace 74-66.
In a physical contest that saw 58 free throws shot, Goshen controlled the first half taking a six point lead into the break at 29-23.
To start the second half the Lancers opened the first three minutes of play on a quick 8-0 run to take their first and only lead of the game at 31-29. Goshen answered with a three pointer and would never trail again pushing the lead to as many as 12 points.
The Lancers fought back to cut the deficit to five but could not get any closer. Grace shot 30-percent from the field, after shooting a school record 75-percent from the field on Wednesday. Grace also committed 20 turnovers despite out rebounding Goshen 20-4 at the offensive end of the floor.
"It is a tough night when you don't finish plays," said head coach Jim Kessler. "Tonight Goshen played harder than us and was able to control the game with physical play. Hey it's the MCC what do you expect."
On the night Eric Gaff led the way with 22 points and 18 rebounds. Senior Michael Wienhorst and junior David Swanson both added 10 points and collected 17 rebounds between them.
Grace drops to 11-6 on the season and 2-2 in conference play as they host Taylor University at the OCC on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.
Winona Lake, IN--The Grace College Lancers defeated the Indiana Tech Warriors Wednesday afternoon at the OCC 104-71. It was the second time in the past three games that the Lancers eclipsed the century mark.
Tech came into the contest ranked #8 in the last NAIA polls with Grace coming in at #25. Both teams traded baskets throughout the first eight minutes of play before the Lancers took a 43-31 lead after a twenty-five point spurt. Grace was able to open a lead by as many as 13 points in the first half behind hot shooting of 73.3-percent.
"We did well at making shots in that first half," said head coach Jim Kessler. "We got a few run outs that opened up the game for us midway through the first half and we used it coming out of the break."
In the second half the Lancers poured it on Tech, extending their margin to as many as 36 points at one point. The hot shooting continued as well, as Grace connected for 75.4-percent shooting for the game, which is a school record. It is the second time this season Grace has broken the field goal percentage record for a game.
On the day the freshmen for Grace stole the show with Dayton Merrell scoring 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting and Derek Johnson scoring a game high 20 points on 9-of-9 shooting. Eric Gaff and David Swanson both added double-doubles with 28 points and 21 rebounds between them. The backcourt duo of Kyle Plumlee and David Henry was solid as well with Plumlee dishing out 12 assists and Henry scoring 19 points.
Grace moves to 11-5 on the season and will host Goshen College on Saturday January 3rd at 3:00 p.m.
Canton, OH--The Grace College men's basketball team defeated Malone University on Saturday afternoon in the championship contest of the Canton Comfort Inn Tournament. The Lancers led 37-26 at halftime and then maintained a double-digit advantage throughout the second stanza as they pulled away for the victory. The win moves the #25 Grace Lancers to 10-5 on the season.
The Grace defense was able to frustrate Malone as they struggled to get their offense on track. The Pioneers connected on just 17 of 56 (30.4%) field goal attempts while committing 16 turnovers. The Lancers held a 53-29 advantage in total rebounds and drained 10 of 22 (45.5%) three-point tries.
Senior Michael Wienhorst paced the Lancers with 23 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Guards David Henry and Kyle Plumlee added 13 points and 11 points respectively as Plumlee was named to the All-Tournament Team. Senior Eric Gaff had a quite 14 point 17 rebound effort and claimed the MVP honors on the afternoon.
The Lancers will host Indiana Tech on December 31st at the Orthopaedic Capital Center at 1:00 p.m. before returning to conference play.
Canton, OH--As if 40 minutes of basketball wasn't enough, the Grace College men's basketball team played in a 55 minute dog fight Friday night in the opening round of the Malone University tournament and came away with a 102-95 triple overtime victory.
Grace dominated the first half of play by opening a double digit lead behind senior Eric Gaff with 17 points. The Lancer guards were laden with foul trouble until junior Ryan Eakins and freshman Dayton Merrell stepped in to give the Lancers a boost to close the first half. Eakins handled the ball, setting up Gaff and others against the pressure defense of Lake Erie.
With just :04 seconds remaining in the first half, Eakins stripped the ball away from the offensive player and tossed it ahead to Merrell for the lay in. Merrell's basket put the Lancers up 39-30 at the half.
To open the second half, Lake Erie cut the Lancer lead to two points in their first four possessions. Grace was able to extend the lead back to double digits with just 11 minutes remaining in the game before giving up the lead once again. Both teams scrapped back and forth down the stretch, with the Lancers getting a defensive stand at the end of regulation to send the game into the first overtime at 72-72.
In overtime Lake Erie took a quick five point lead but Grace chipped away behind a Kyle Plumlee three pointer with just 1:32 remaining. Senior Michael Wienhorst tied the game at 83-83 with two free throws to send the game into the second overtime.
Grace won the tip and freshman Duke Johnson was fouled but couldn't connect on the free throws. After getting a defensive stop, Gaff scored the next six points to put the Lancers up 89-85 with just :58 seconds remaining. Lake Erie's pressure forced two Grace turnovers, leading to two baskets to put the game into the third overtime.
In the third overtime, fatigue set in for Lake Erie as the Lancers were able to get two quick run outs for layups to take a four point advantage. Down the stretch the combination of Eric Gaff, Kyle Plumlee and Dayton Merrell helped lock up the victory for Coach Kessler's team.
On the night Grace shot 45.7-percent from the field, 43.8-percent from three, and 77.5-percent from the free throw line. Senior Eric Gaff had yet again an outstanding performance with 36 points and 16 rebounds in the win. Over the past two games Gaff is averaging 36.5 points and 16.5 rebounds.
Junior Kyle Plumlee, of Plymouth, scored 14 points and grabbed 6 rebounds. Freshman Dayton Merrell scored a career high 14 points and snagged 8 rebounds in the win.
"It was a game our guys had to have," said assistant coach Matt Moore. "We try not to talk about 'must wins' but at some point you have to decide you are not going to let your team lose and Eric did that for us tonight."
Grace will play Malone University at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday in the championship game of the tournament. The Lancers will be off until December 31st when they host Indiana Tech at the OCC at 1:00 p.m.
Winona Lake, IN--It was almost the same script Saturday afternoon in the Grace, Cornerstone game as it was in Grand Rapids, Michigan just two weeks earlier. Grace led at the half and for the majority of the game before the Golden Eagles put together a run in the final ten minutes to pull out the 89-82 win over the Lancers.
Both teams battled with foul trouble in the first half, with twelve players having two or more fouls. Grace held a slight advantage at the break of 42-39, but the Golden Eagles dialed-in in the second half connecting on seven three pointers and exploding for 50 points.
Grace trailed by as many as 19 with 8:45 to play and cut the Cornerstone lead to 4 points with 2:12 remaining but the Lancers didn't get a defensive stand and CU pushed the lead back to three possessions.
On the day the Lancers were paced by their All-American, senior Eric Gaff who had a career high 37 points and 17 rebounds. The only other Lancer in double figures was junior Kyle Plumlee with 10 points.
The loss drops Grace to 8-5 on the year and they will head to Malone College on Friday and Saturday of next week for the Malone Tournament. Grace will play NCAA II Lake Erie College Friday night.
Winona Lake, IN-It has been something that has held the men's basketball team back all season and it was a key reason why they lost Friday night against Notre Dame College and that was turnovers. Grace committed 16 turnovers Friday, which is the ninth game this season that Grace has turned the ball over more than their opponent.
Notre Dame (8-1) got out of the blocks early up 13-5. After a Lancer's timeout Grace took command with a 19-2 run behind three three-point baskets by sophomore David Henry for a 24-15 lead. The Lancers took a 37-31 advantage into the locker room.
In the second stanza, Grace opened up their lead by as many as 12 points before the Falcons closed the final 6:42 with a 20-9 spurt to come away with the 69-68 upset at Kessler Court.
"We did not play together tonight and thought we could just show up and they would roll over," said head coach Jim Kessler. "When you have a team down you must be able to put them away and that is something that we have not achieved this year."
In the final five possessions the Lancers committed four costly turnovers and never were able to get a shot off in the closing seconds.
Senior Eric Gaff led the way with 17 points and 12 rebounds while junior David Swanson tallied 12 points and 14 rebounds. Grace (8-4) will host Cornerstone University in the 1:00 p.m. contest Saturday.
Winona Lake, IN-The Grace College Lancers and the Manchester College Spartans did battle Tuesday night in the Orthopaedic Capital Center and when the smoke cleared the Lancers walked away with the 74-64 win.
On paper it looked as if the Lancers would cruise to an easy victory but the Spartans gave Grace all they could handle. Manchester led early in the contest 10-4 before Grace countered with an 11-4 run to take a 15-14 lead. Grace pushed the lead to as many as 11 points with 2:24 remaining in the first half but Manchester's Tyler Delauder, hit a three pointer at the buzzer to cut the Grace advantage to seven points at 39-32.
In the second half both teams played sloppy with Grace holding an eight to ten point led for a majority of the half. Manchester cut the Grace lead to two points at 52-50 with 9:00 to play but sophomore David Henry answered with a three from the left wing to start a Grace rally.
Grace closed the final eight minutes of play with a 22-14 run to pull out the ten point victory. On the night the Lancers were led by the double double duo of David Swanson and Eric Gaff once again. Swanson had 16 points and 12 rebounds while Gaff added 20 points and 11 rebounds.
The win moves Grace to 8-3 on the year as they will host two games in the OCC on Friday and Saturday in the KCCCF Tipoff Tournament. The Lancers play Notre Dame College on Friday at 8:00 p.m.
Huntington, IN-It was the second straight MCC road game for the Grace men's basketball team and they were more than ready for their matchup with the host Huntington Foresters. Grace led from the first basket of the game until the last for a 98-92 victory, despite HU storming back from 21 points down in the second half to make it a contest.
The Lancers jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead behind senior Eric Gaff and junior David Swanson. Grace slowly built on their lead through most of the first half as they shot a stout 75-percent from the field to take a 53-39 lead at intermission.
Grace continued to press on the gas, extending their second half lead to 21 points with 13:44 remaining in the game. The Foresters changed their game plan and began attacking the basket which put the Lancers in foul trouble. HU made 12 free throws over the next five minutes cutting the Lancer led to 12 points.
Huntington rallied all the way back at 94-92 with :22 seconds remaining but the Lancers connected on four straight free throws to put the game out of reach. For the game Grace shot a school record 68.6-percent from the field while connecting on 24-of-28 free throws.
Grace was led by their seniors Michael Wienhorst and Eric Gaff. Wienhorst led all scorers with 25 points and six rebounds as Gaff tallied his sixth double double of the season with 23 points and 14 rebounds.
The Lancers return home on Tuesday night at the OCC against Manchester College.
Indianapolis, IN-The Grace College men's basketball team shot 48-percent from the field and out rebounded Marian College 45-25 Tuesday night in a 80-67 win.
Grace led by nine points at half time 35-26, behind a 12 point 6 rebound effort off the bench by freshman Derek Johnson. After senior Eric Gaff picked up his second foul, just four minutes into the game Johnson stepped in and picked up the slack.
"After Derek knocked down his first shot you could tell he was in a rhythm," said head coach Jim Kessler. "They didn't guard him and he hit three more in a row from the top of the key and that is his sweet spot."
Along with Johnson, junior David Swanson helped pace the Lancers in the first half with his 12 point 8 rebound effort as he played all but one minute of the first half.
In the second half the Lancers extended their lead to as many as 14 points at 52-38 with 11:24 remaining in the game. Marian continued to battle, cutting the Grace lead down to six points but could never get any closer the rest of the way. The Lancers scored on their final ten possessions of the game.
Grace put four players in double figures behind Johnson's 18 points and 7 rebounds. Michael Wienhorst tallied 17 points as David Swanson and David Henry chipped in 16 and 14 points respectively.
The win moves Grace to 6-3 on the year and 1-1 in MCC play. They return to action on Saturday as they travel to Huntington University to take on the Foresters.
Winona Lake, IN - It was another classic Grace-Bethel rivalry game on Tuesday night. In the end, #2 Bethel won in overtime 93-87, making Grace's all time OCC record 17-2 - both losses coming from Bethel.
The Lancers (5-3, 0-1 MCC) started off strong with an 18-11 lead and led by as much as 14. Grace shot 55.6% from the field in the first half and entered the break with 47-38 halftime cushion.
Bethel (9-0, 1-0 MCC) started the second half similar to Grace's beginning-of-the-game spurt. Bethel opened with four quick points and later took the lead by double digits. At the four-minute mark, it appeared as if Bethel would run away with it, leading 73-63. But the Lancers proved that they can stand with the top teams in the nation.
They went on a 9-2 run and trailed Bethel 75-72 at the two minute mark. Grace took a one point lead with one minute to go and Bethel tied the game with a free throw. The Lancers couldn't convert on their next possession, leaving Bethel with 10.8 seconds left to take the victory. Bethel's Caleb Laidig couldn't execute on the shot, leaving 1.8 seconds left on the clock for a last-second desperation shot. Lancer Kyle Plumlee's shot was partially blocked, and the game was sent into overtime with an 82-82 tie.
In overtime, Grace started strong and hopped to an 87-84 lead. However, a couple turnovers prevented the Lancers from putting it away. In the end Bethel outscored the Lancers in overtime 11-5 on their way to a 93-87 victory.
Eric Gaff led the Lancers with 24 points and 17 rebounds while David Swanson chipped in 19 points and 9 rebounds. Wienhorst and Henry played strong in the backcourt, adding 16 apiece. Bethel's William Walker led all scorers with 32 points.
"It is a tough loss," said head assistant coach Matt Moore. "We believed we could win the game and it just came down to a few possessions and that is basketball in the MCC."
The Lancers are back in action on Dec. 2 as they hit the road to play the Marian College Knights. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.
Grand Rapids, MI- The Grace men's basketball team traveled north to Grand Rapids, Michigan Saturday afternoon to battle with the Cornerstone University Golden Eagles. Grace led early in the contest but could not overcome 72-percent shooting from the host Eagles in the second half as the Lancers fell 82-70.
Grace jumped out to a quick 11-3 lead in the games first five possessions behind good ball movement and shot selection. After a Cornerstone timeout the Eagles were able to chip away at the Lancer lead, cutting it to 34-32 at the half.
In the second half the lead changed hands five times before Cornerstone began to pull away. With 2:37 remaining in the game, Cornerstone's Dominic Allen connected on a deep three pointer to extend the Eagles advantage to seven points. The Lancers were not able to get any closer the rest of the contest.
Senior Michael Wienhorst led the way with 20 points as senior Eric Gaff had a double double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. The loss drops Grace to 5-2 on the season as Cornerstone moves to 6-2. Grace will have a chance to face CU again in three weeks in the KCCCF Optimist Tournament.
The Lancers will host #2 Bethel College at home on Tuesday in MCC action. Tip off starts at 7:00 p.m.
Winona Lake, IN - The Grace College men's basketball team defeated Indiana University South Bend, Tuesday night 83-69 at the Orthopaedic Capital Center.
Grace (5-1) outscored the Titans 41-26 in the first half behind David Swanson's 13 point first half effort. IUSB (2-5) finished the game with three players in double figures and closed the Lancer lead to 14 points on the final possession. Grace led by as many as 17 points in the first half and extended their second half lead to 23 points before going to their bench.
The Lancers were led in scoring by David Swanson with 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting as he grabbed 10 rebounds. Senior Eric Gaff had a quiet 12 point 15 rebound effort while Michael Wienhorst added 13 points despite foul trouble. It was the Grace bench though that made the difference in the contest as they out scored IUSB's bench 30-19 on the night.
The Lancers defense once again held an opponent below 40-percent shooting on the night keeping IUSB to 39.3-percent. The Lancers out rebounded Titans 48-29 while outscoring them from the free throw line 24-13.
"I thought we played the best as a team tonight that we have all season," said head coach Jim Kessler. "Our guards did a great job of knowing when to take shots and when to feed the post and that balance is what will allow us to be successful."
The Lancers head to Cornerstone University on Saturday then return to the OCC to face Bethel College on Tuesday.
Williamsburg, KY - The Grace College men's basketball team lost its first game of the season to the University of the Cumberlands 63-91 on Saturday.
Grace (4-1) was outscored 46-25 in the first half. The University of the Cumberlands (3-0) had five players in double figures by the end of the game, and knocked down 11 three-pointers.
The Lancers were led in scoring by Eric Gaff with 33 points. Gaff also grabbed 15 rebounds and was 11 of 14 from the charity stripe. David Swanson, who joined Gaff on the All-Tournament team, scored 16 points. No other Lancer player scored more than six points.
The University of the Cumberlands are ranked 11th in NAIA Division I.
The Lancers return to the Orthopaedic Capital Center on Tuesday as they welcome Indiana University-South Bend at 7 pm.
Williamsburg, KY - The Grace College men's basketball team pulled off a 72-66 victory over Milligan College in the opening round of the Cumberland Tournament Friday night.
The Lancers (4-0) played an especially sloppy first half resulting in 19 turnovers, yet still entered the second half with an eight point lead.
Due to a staunch Lancers' defense, Milligan never took the lead throughout the entire second half. The Buffalos (2-1) tied it up with 6:30 to play but the Lancers answered with an eight point run to clinch the victory.
The Buffalos topped 100 points in their first two regular season games, and led the NAIA in field goal percentage last season (58.5%). They were held to 34.7% shooting and 28.6% from the three-point line.
"We were able to battle the adversity and stay poised even though we were committing turnovers," said assistant coach Matt Moore. "The victory is accredited to our kids' toughness."
Junior David Swanson (19 points, 12 rebs.) and senior Eric Gaff (14 points, 11 rebs.) finished with double-doubles while wingman Michael Wienhorst also chipped in 13 points.
The Lancers face the University of the Cumberlands tomorrow in the championship game.
Winona Lake, IN--After winning their first two games of the season, the Lancers continued on the winning path in a 92-63 victory over Taylor Fort Wayne Monday night.
Grace opened the game with a 12-0 run before TUFW was able to get on the board. Taylor was able to cut the Grace lead to three points at 17-14 with 9:19 remaining in the half. Grace used a 26-14 run to close the half behind the hot hand of senior Michael Wienhorst who connected on two deep three pointers before the break to give Grace a 43-28 half time lead.
The second half was nearly carbon copy of the first as Grace extended their lead with crisp ball movement and team play. For the game, the Lancers had 29 assists, which is a season high. It was sophomore Jacob Peattie that brought Lancer fans to their feet as he threw down a two handed dunk on a lob pass from Wienhorst with 4:14 to go.
On the night Grace put three players in double figures led by Wienhorst with 20 points as David Swanson and Eric Gaff chipped in 18 and 17 respectively. Senior Kyle Plumlee had a very solid night with 9 points, 7 assists and 5 steals in just 22 minutes of play.
The Lancers hit 40 of 71 shots to shoot 56.3-percent for the field for the game.
Grace will head to Cumberlands College for a tournament this Friday and Saturday as they will play Milligan College Friday night.
Winona Lake, IN--In their first home game of the season the Grace College men's basketball team gave fans a thrilling evening in a 73-65 victory over visiting Trinity International Friday night for Homecoming.
Grace opened the game with a thunderous dunk by senior Eric Gaff which brought the crowd to life. The Lancer quickly built a 10-4 advantage behind a transition basket by junior David Swanson just four minutes into the game.
Over the next eight minutes of action, the Lancers took a fifteen point advantage with a 17-8 run, all while Gaff on the bench in foul trouble. Grace extended their lead to 17 but TIU chipped away to get within 11 points by half time at 39-28.
"We really didn't make good decisions in our passing and ball handling that first half," said Lancer head coach Jim Kessler. "With Eric on the bench that entire time we needed to be more specific in our shot selection and decision making and that wasn't the case."
The Lancers committed 12 turnovers in the first half leading to 16 of Trinity points. In the second half TIU chipped away cutting the Grace lead to 51-50 with 10:32 remaining. The Lancers responded with a 7-0 run over their own to regain an eight point advantage. Trinity was able to tie the game at 58-58 with 4:31 left in but the Lancers had an answer with Swanson. David grabbed 16 rebounds on the night to go along with his 12 points, and made two big shots with under two minutes left to seal the victory for Grace.
Grace shot 84-percent from the free throw line going 26-31 and held Trinity to 33.8-percent from the field for the game. Senior Eric Gaff led all scorers with 17 points to go with 7 rebounds and junior Kyle Plumlee and senior Michael Wienhorst both added 13 each.
The victory moves Grace to 2-0 on the season as they will host Taylor Fort Wayne in the OCC on Monday night at 7:00 p.m.
Chicago, IL--The Grace men's basketball team had no trouble with Illinois Tech Wednesday night opening the game with a 19-4 run and eventually winning 85-59.
Senior Eric Gaff scored 25 point to go with 8 rebounds on the day and junior David Swanson added 17 points and 9 rebounds. The Lancers shot 54-percent for the game while only committing 14 turnovers.
Grace will host Trinity International on Friday for Homecoming at 7:00 p.m.