www.grace.edu

2011-12

Grimm, Boykin receive honorable mention All-American status

3/21/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Bruce Grimm Jr. and Danielle Boykin were both given honorable mention status as NAIA All-Americans to conclude their outstanding 2011-12 campaigns.

Grimm was also named First Team NCCAA All-American while Boykin earned Second Team All-American honors from the NCCAA.

Grimm led the Lancers to a 24-8 record and a second-straight appearance in the NAIA National Championships. He also sparked Grace to their first Mid-Central College Conference Tournament championship with a career-high 35 points against Saint Francis.

For the season, Grimm tallied 18.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He also went over 1,000 career points as a Lancer in just his second season, finishing the year with 1,003 career points.

Boykin was one of the primary reasons Grace’s women’s basketball team enjoyed its best season ever. Her 10.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game were second on the team, and she also hit 44 percent of her attempts from the field and 81 percent of her free throws.

The Lady Lancers finished with their first winning season since 1991-92, and they recorded their first 20-win season in program history with a final 20-15 record.

Grace went to their fourth consecutive NCCAA National Championship and had their best showing ever with a third-place finish in the tournament.


Lancers lose heartbreaker to Briar Cliff in opening round

3/8/12

POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. – Grace’s men’s basketball team concluded an outstanding season with a disappointing 59-56 loss to No. 22 Briar Cliff (Iowa) in the first round of the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Tournament.

The 11th-ranked Lancers (24-8) made several charges in the second half but could never quite wrestle the lead back from the Chargers (22-10).

To start the game, Bruce Grimm Jr. ended two-and-a-half scoreless minutes of basketball when he nailed a triple for the game’s first points. Grace’s 3-0 lead proved to be their only lead of the game.

Briar Cliff hit six 3-pointers in the opening half while Grace struggled to convert their shots. The Lancers missed numerous close opportunities in the first half and trailed by as many as 10 points.

Dennis Williams was one of Grace’s rare offensive bright spots in the first half when he tallied all eight of his points before halftime on 4-of-5 shooting from the field.

Williams, along with Grimm and Duke Johnson, combined to score 24 of Grace’s 26 first-half points. The Lancers entered the halftime break trailing 34-26.

The Chargers extended their lead to double digits early in the second half and led 41-30 with 16 minutes to play.

But the Lancers got their first burst of momentum with a 10-0 run over the next three minutes, thanks to three points apiece from Johnson and Elliot Smith.

The teams battled back-and-forth before Grace finally tied the score at 47-47 when Greg Miller converted an old-fashioned 3-point play from a rebound putback.

Grace struggled offensively after evening the score, however, allowing Briar Cliff to open up a six-point lead with 6:23 left.

Karl Columbus and Miller scored on Grace’s next two possessions to cut the gap to two points, but Briar Cliff’s Ben Sitzmann answered with four of his career-high 18 points as the Chargers regained a six-point edge.

Grace countered with a 3-pointer from Smith to make it a one-possession game with 1:56 remaining, but the scoring would end there.

Trailing by three points with less than a minute remaining, Columbus came up with a steal with 20 seconds left when Grace turned on the fullcourt press.

Grace set up their offensive play, but Briar Cliff blocked Miller’s 3-point attempt out of bounds.

On the final possession for the Lancers, Smith hoisted a contested 3-pointer from the left wing which missed, but Columbus snagged the offensive board and dribbled back out to the right corner for the potential game-tying 3-point shot. His attempt was on line but just short as time expired.

“The first half is where we put ourselves in jeopardy,” said Grace head coach Jim Kessler. “We battled back like we have all year, but we made a couple key turnovers that hurt us. We had a lag on offense in the first half, but defensively I thought we played good enough to win.”

In his final game as a Lancer, Duke Johnson led Grace’s scoring with 15 points on 6-of-12 from the field. He added 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks from the post.

Freshman guard Columbus was a spark off the bench in the second half with all 10 of his points coming after halftime. He made 5 of his 8 field goals and added 2 assists and 2 steals.

Grimm finished with 10 points and four boards, and Miller (7 points) and Smith (6 points) rounded out Grace’s scoring. Grimm also went over 1,000 career points as a Lancer in the loss, finishing the game with 1,003 career points in just his second season.

For the game, the Lancers shot 40 percent from the field and were only 3-of-14 from beyond the arc (21 percent). The Chargers finished at 42 percent shooting for the game.

“We missed a few shots that normally we would make in the first half. We had the high-low open for us all night, but we just weren’t patient with it,” Kessler continued. “We made a lot of runs in this game, and ultimately I’m disappointed for our seniors. At the same time, it was nice to see Karl [Columbus] step up and show a lot of potential.”

The loss ends the careers for Grace seniors Duke Johnson, Jacob Peattie, Dayton Merrell and Ben Euler. The quartet brought Grace to a national tournament appearance in each of the last four seasons with Peattie (redshirt senior) becoming the first Lancer to make four NAIA Nationals appearances.


NAIA preview: Grace vs. Briar Cliff

3/7/12

BRANSON, Mo. – Thursday night will begin Grace’s foray into the 2012 NAIA National Championships. The Lancers will square off with Briar Cliff Universitiy (Iowa) on Thursday at 7:30 pm CST (8:30 pm EST).

The Lancers (24-7) are making their fourth trip to the NAIA Championships in the past five years and will hope to avenge a first-round exit in the 2011 tournament.

The Chargers (21-10) are led by Jake Shipley who averages 18 points and five rebounds a game. Taylor Murren is the other Charger scoring in double figures with 12.2 ppg.

Briar Cliff is making its eighth appearance in the NAIA Championships and finished No. 19 in the final regular-season poll.

You can purchase a virtual ticket to watch Thursday night's game by clicking here. Follow the game action for free with live audio and live stats as well.

To follow exclusive behind-the-scenes updates from the men's basketball team, visit Grace's athletic blog at http://gclancers.wordpress.com/. Included in the blog are photos, videos and posts tracking the team on their quest for a second NAIA title in program history.


NAIA bracket released, Grace to face Briar Cliff

2/29/12

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Grace's men's basketball team will take on Briar Cliff (Iowa) in the opening round of the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Championship, as the official bracket revealed on Wednesday.

The Lancers, the 2012 MCC regular season co-champions and tournament champions, will play their opener against Briar Cliff at 7:30 p.m. (CST) on Thursday, March 8, on the campus of the College of the Ozarks.

The Briar Cliff Chargers were No. 19 in the final regular season poll for the NAIA's Top 25 and received the seventh at-large invitation to the tournament.

The Chargers (21-10) are making their eighth appearance to the NAIA National Championship. Briar Cliff has an all-time record of 2-7 in Branson and had their most recent appearances in 2011 and 2009 (both first-round losses).

The Lancers (24-7) will make their sixth trip to the NAIA National Championship, including four times in the last five years. Grace has tallied an 8-4 record in the tournament.

The Mid-Central College Conference placed four teams in the 32-team field with Indiana Wesleyan (No. 13), Marian (at-large) and Saint Francis (at-large).

NeuLion is the NAIA's Digital Media Partner and official video-streaming company of 10 select NAIA National Championship events. The first 30 matches of the men's tournament will be available via live video stream for $29.95 and any single day can be purchased for $9.95. Also, one can purchase the all-tournament package of all four basketball tournaments for $49.95. For more information and to pre-register, click here.

To read the NAIA's release, click here.

2012 NAIA BRACKET


Grace claims electrifying MCC Tournament championship

2/28/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – For the first time in the Orthopaedic Capital Center’s history, Grace has cut the nets down.

Grace punched its ticket to the NAIA Division II Basketball Championships in Branson, Mo., with a 79-75 thriller over Saint Francis on Tuesday night, taking home the 2012 MCC Tournament championship.

The Lancers (24-7) earned their first conference tournament title in program history and their sixth trip overall to the NAIA DII Championships – including four of the past five seasons.

Bruce Grimm Jr. proved unstoppable all night as he dazzled his way to 35 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.

The OCC crowd was at fever pitch from the tipoff and had little reason to drop its level of excitement in the title bout.

The Cougars (21-12) grabbed their largest lead of the game early with a 14-8 advantage after six minutes of play. The Lancers soon after leveled the score.

Grimm added six of his 16 first-half points in the final 2:10 of regulation, and his driving layup in the waning seconds gave Grace a 36-31 lead at the halftime break.

Saint Francis fired back to start the second half, however, and ended a 12-2 run with back-to-back 3-pointers to take a 43-40 lead.

The teams played about as evenly as possible for most of the second half. Over a 14-minute stretch in the half, the lead was never greater than three points in either team’s favor.

Freshman Karl Columbus and Grimm were instrumental in keeping Grace close. Columbus added eight points and four boards in his 13 second-half minutes.

Grimm finally began to swing momentum Grace’s direction when he pulled up for a 3-pointer from the top of the key to put the Lancers ahead 63-61 with six minutes to play.

Greg Miller muscled his way to a pair of low-post buckets on Grace’s next two possessions as the frenzied OCC crowd erupted with the home team leading 67-61 and only 4:33 remaining.

After a basket from the Cougars, Columbus banked in a shot in the lane, and Grimm scored twice in a row to establish a 10-point lead for the Lancers heading into the final minute.

Saint Francis scored from beyond the arc to cut the gap to seven points, but Jacob Peattie leaked free for a fastbreak two-handed jam on the inbounds pass out of a Saint Francis timeout.

The Cougars continued to foul over the last minute of play and managed to slice Grace’s lead to 78-75 after a contested 3-pointer from Q Owens swished through with 10 seconds left.

But Elliot Smith hit 1-of-2 from the free throw line with 6.7 seconds on the clock, and Saint Francis misfired on a desperation shot in the final seconds as Grace held on for the tournament championship.

Grimm’s 35 points tied a career high he set earlier this year in a double-overtime win against Bethel College. He finished 12-of-25 from the field and a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line while playing all 40 minutes of the game.

Miller and Columbus each tallied 13 points and five boards, and Duke Johnson added 6 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 blocked shots.

The Lancers hit 55 percent from the field, including 16-of-25 in the second half (64 percent). Grace held a dominant 52-36 advantage in points in the paint and outrebounded Saint Francis by three (34-31).

The Cougars shot 43 percent for the night and were 47 percent from the 3-point line. Owens led Saint Francis’s production with 24 points.

The 32-team field and the tournament bracket for the NAIA DII Championships will be revealed on Wednesday. Stay up-to-date with Grace’s draw in Branson on Grace’s official site www.grace.edu/athletics.


Grace to video stream MCC championship

2/27/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Tuesday night's championship game for the Mid-Central College Conference between Grace and Saint Francis will be video streamed live for free at http://www.livestream.com/gracelancers.

The Lancers are seeking their first MCC tournament championship in program history. A win for the Lancers (23-7) will also secure an automatic bid to the NAIA Division II National Championships.

Grace was the 2012 regular season co-champion for the MCC and has already more than likely earned an at-large bid to the NAIA national tournament, but the Lancers will hope to cut down the nets at the Orthopaedic Capital Center on Tuesday night with a tournament championship.

The Lancers swept the Cougars in the regular season, with an 81-70 victory at home on Jan. 14 and an 89-87 win in Fort Wayne on Feb. 11.

To access the live video feed on Tuesday night, go to http://www.livestream.com/gracelancers. For live stats, click here.


Lancers shut down Marian in MCC semifinals

2/25/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s defense put the clamps down on Marian University on Saturday, holding off the Knights 62-53 to earn a trip to the 2012 MCC Tournament championship game.

The Lancers (23-7) will host the University of Saint Francis on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Orthopaedic Capital Center with a berth to the NAIA Division II National Championships on the line.

Despite being swept in the season series with the Knights (19-10), No. 13 Grace took the lead within two minutes of tipoff and never surrendered the lead after that.

Grace held No. 21 Marian to under 35 percent shooting from the field in a tenacious defensive effort.

In the first half, Grace’s strong post play was a major storyline as they scored 16 points in the paint.

Midway through the period, Marian made a charge to cut Grace’s lead to 23-20 with less than seven minutes remaining. The Lancers subdued the Knights’ momentum, however, with an 11-2 run and maintained their pace to take a 36-26 lead into the halftime break.

Lancer post players Duke Johnson (11 points) and Greg Miller (7) scored half of Grace’s points in the opening period.

After going 0-for-7 from beyond the arc in the first half, the Knights found their range after halftime. Marian drilled four 3-pointers in the first eight minutes of the second half, the last one bringing the Knights to within two points (44-42).

But the Lancers held the Knights scoreless over the next six minutes of action, going on a 10-0 spurt to end the last serious threat of the semifinal match.

Overall, Grace shot 44 percent from the field and held a plus-7 advantage in rebounds (33-26). The Lancers tallied 11 assists on their 21 made field goals.

Johnson led all scorers with 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field and 7-of-9 from the free throw line. He also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds, dished out two assists and nabbed three steals.

Bruce Grimm Jr. finished with 13 points and four assists, and Miller added 12 points and eight boards.

With the win the Lancers advance to their second MCC Tournament championship game and first since 2008.

While the Lancers have more than likely wrapped up at least an at-large invitation to the NAIA Division II National Championships, they can clinch their fourth NAIA berth in five years with a win over Saint Francis on Tuesday.


Lancers cruise by Trojans, advance to MCC semifinals

2/22/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace showed no signs of disappointment against Taylor on Wednesday night despite coming off a loss to the Trojans in their regular season finale just four days earlier.

The Lancers controlled the majority of play in their Mid-Central College Conference quarterfinal matchup, easing away for a 76-53 victory.

Five players scored in double digits for the Lancers (22-7), led by Bruce Grimm Jr.’s 19 points and Elliot Smith’s 12.

For the game, Grace shot 53.4 percent while holding the Trojans (20-11) to just 36.0 percent from the field.

The Lancers wasted little time taking over the game’s momentum. Trailing 7-4 in the early stages of play, Grace went on an 18-0 run over a seven-minute span and never trailed again.

Taylor responded with eight straight points of their own to bring the score back to single digits, but the Lancers still entered the break with a 34-25 lead.

Grace controlled the opening half on the boards with a commanding 21-6 advantage in rebounds. The Lancers grabbed nine offensive rebounds in the first half, four belonging to Miller.

Grimm asserted himself to start the second half with eight points in Grace’s 10-2 run to begin the period. His back-to-back 3-pointers capped off Grace’s spurt and put the Lancers ahead 44-27 with just over 14 minutes remaining.

The Lancers built their lead up to 21 points at the midway mark of the second half before Taylor showed signs of life. The Trojans brought the margin back down to 11 after Casey Coons drilled one of his six 3-pointers on the evening.

But Smith scored on Grace’s next possession, and soon after, the Lancers ended all hopes of a comeback with 10 straight points.

Grimm’s team-high 19 points came with 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.

Miller, Duke Johnson, and Karl Columbus each tallied 10 points. Johnson also added nine boards and four assists, and Columbus tallied five rebounds and two steals off the bench.

Overall, Grace held a plus-19 advantage on the boards (39-20) and tallied 18 assists on their 31 made field goals.

With the win, Grace will face Marian University in the MCC Semifinals. The Lancers will hope to get revenge on the Knights on Saturday at the Orthopaedic Capital Center at 3 p.m. after Marian swept the season series with Grace.


Smith earns Third Team Academic All-America

2/21/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Junior guard Elliot Smith was included as a Third Team selection for Capital One Academic All-America®, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

The Capital One College Division Academic All-America® basketball teams are comprised of student-athletes from NAIA, Canadian and two-year institutions who have earned at least a 3.3 GPA.

Smith currently holds a 3.91 GPA while studying accounting at Grace.

He averaged 9.0 points per game in Grace's regular season and helped the Lancers to their first conference title since 1993. He ranks in the top 50 in the NAIA in 3-point percentage (41.0 percent) and is shooting 72.5 percent from the free throw line as well.

To view the complete All-America Team, click here.


Grimm pegged First Team All-MCC, Johnson and Miller also honored

2/20/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – To cap off its first Mid-Central College Conference title since 1993, Grace's men's basketball team landed three players on the All-MCC teams led by junior Bruce Grimm Jr. as First Team All-MCC.

Senior Duke Johnson was named Second Team All-MCC, and Greg Miller received the Third Team nod in his sophomore campaign.

Grimm, who was named First Team All-MCC for the second time in his career, is pacing Grace this year with 18.0 points, 4.4 assists and 1.7 assists per game. The point guard was even more impressive in MCC play, bumping his scoring up to 20.0 ppg. Grimm was also a part of the All-Defensive Team after nabbing 48 steals during the regular season.

Johnson earned his second consecutive Second Team All-MCC honor by tallying 14.0 points and 6.2 rebounds per game in the post. He shot 52.2 percent from the field in the regular season and 73.4 percent from the free throw line.

During the regular-season finale against Taylor, Johnson recorded his 1,500th point and currently sits in 21st on Grace's all-time scoring list.

Miller's Third Team All-MCC award is his first from the conference. He enjoyed a breakout season with 11.8 points and a team-best 7.5 rebounds per game. He sank 53.8 percent of his shots during the regular season, including 31.7 percent from beyond the arc.

To view the complete MCC awards listing, click here.

The Lancers, the No. 2 seed in the 2012 MCC Tournament, will host the seventh-seeded Taylor University on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Listen to the game live here or follow along with live stats.


Taylor's shooting holds off Grace

2/18/12

UPLAND, Ind. – In their regular-season finale, No. 7 Grace could not slow down Taylor’s offensive production as the Trojans came away with an 82-73 victory on Saturday.

Despite the loss, the Lancers had already wrapped up a share of the Mid-Central College Conference title but had to settle for a co-championship with Indiana Wesleyan.

The Lancers (21-7; 12-6 MCC) were more than efficient on offense with 21 assists on 24 made field goals and only seven turnovers, but the Trojans (20-10; 9-9 MCC) were not to be stopped on Saturday.

Taylor got off to an incredibly hot start by hitting 15 of their first 20 shots (75 percent) and finished 63.4 percent for the game. The Trojans drilled nine 3-pointers in the game, including a 5-of-7 performance from beyond the arc in the second half (71.4 percent).

Despite Taylor’s marksmanship to start the game, Grace still found themselves ahead in the first half until the final five minutes.

The Trojans propelled ahead of the Lancers for good when they ended the half on a 13-4 run to take an eight-point lead into the break.

Taylor continued their momentum and quickly opened up a 14-point lead less than four minutes into the second half at 50-36.

Grace made numerous charges at Taylor’s lead and cut the gap to seven points on five occasions after then in the second half, but each time the Trojans had the answer thanks to their superb shooting.

Bruce Grimm Jr. paced Grace’s offense with 22 points and four 3-pointers made. He added six assists and four rebounds and was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line.

Greg Miller (18 points) and Duke Johnson (17 points) were strong in the post for the Lancers as Miller was also 3-for-4 from the 3-point line. Johnson topped 1,500 career points in the loss and currently sits in 21st place all-time for Grace with 1,508 points.

Jacob Peattie finished with seven points and four assists, and Elliot Smith scored all nine of his points off 3-pointers in the second half.

Grace was not able to produce any scoring from outside of its starting lineup.

The loss puts Grace as the No. 2 seed in the upcoming 2012 MCC Tournament. The Lancers will get their shot at revenge shortly when they welcome the seventh-seeded Trojans back to the Orthopaedic Capital Center on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Grace eeked out a 55-54 win over Taylor at home on Jan. 7.

To view the complete seeding and bracket breakdown, click here.


Smith, Johnson named CoSIDA Academic All-District

2/17/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Junior Elliot Smith and senior Duke Johnson were honored for their success in the classroom and on the court when they were named CoSIDA Academic All-District.

CoSIDA honors student-athletes from the NAIA as well as NCAA Division I, II and III who have earned at least a 3.3 GPA. The members of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) then vote through the district and national winners of eligible student-athletes.

Smith and Johnson each earned their first All-District award from CoSIDA this year. Smith currently is posting a 3.91 GPA as an accounting major, and Johnson holds a 3.33 GPA as a business administration major.

The results from the national CoSIDA academic winners will be announced on Feb. 20.


Grace takes down rival Bethel in 2OT, clinches share of MCC title

2/14/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – One of the most thrilling chapters to the Grace/Bethel rivalry was added on Tuesday night when Grace took home a 100-97 double overtime victory at the Orthopaedic Capital Center.

Bruce Grimm Jr. turned in a career night with 35 points, and the Lancers earned at least a share of the Mid-Central College Conference title with the win.

In a classic battle that featured a buzzer beater, numerous clutch shots, eight ties and seven lead changes, Grace managed to hold onto the lead throughout the majority of the nail-biting minutes in regulation and both overtime periods.

Bethel was more poised out the gate, however, as they opened up a 31-17 lead just 15 minutes into the game. Grace made a slight push late in the half but still found themselves trailing by nine at the half, 38-29.

Although the Pilots (15-13; 7-10 MCC) led for the first 27 minutes of play, the Lancers (22-6; 12-5 MCC) began to find their offensive rhythm to start the second half.

After shooting just 21.6 percent in the opening period (8-of-37), the Lancers opened the second half with eight straight points thanks to a 3-point play from Duke Johnson and a 3-pointer from Jacob Peattie.

Greg Miller tied the game for Grace with a bucket, and Grimm gave the Lancers their first lead of the game at 48-46 with 12:24 to go in regulation.

Dayton Merrell was crucial in helping Grace out to a six-point lead when he buried three 3-pointers in less than three minutes, but Bethel refused to go down early.

Bethel’s Matt Schauss nailed a pair of shots from beyond the arc in the minute 1:30 to cut Grace’s six-point lead down to two. The Pilots managed to force a turnover on Grace’s possession to set up a game-tying layup from Michael Mislan with 15 seconds left.

Peattie had a look from beyond the arc to win the game, but his shot was off the mark, and the teams entered their first overtime period.

The teams traded baskets to start overtime, but Grimm sank a deep two-pointer then made a steal and long outlet pass to Peattie to put the Lancers ahead 86-82 with 1:31 to play.

Again, however, Bethel came back with a much-needed 3-pointer and then fouled Grimm with 17 seconds on the clock. Grimm made both shots to give Grace a three-point edge, but as the clock expired, Bethel’s Ryan Benner put up a floating 3-pointer from the left wing that swished through to send the game to double overtime.

In the second overtime session, Johnson and Grimm combined for eight points in the first three minutes to give Grace a 96-90 lead.

It looked as if the Pilots had another rally up their sleeves when they rattled off five points and had a chance to tie the score at the free throw line, but Zach Miller missed his second free throw, and Bethel was forced to foul Duke Johnson with 15 seconds left.

Johnson made 1-of-2 from the charity stripe, but Merrell came up with a big offensive rebound and passed to Elliot Smith. Smith was promptly fouled and again made 1-of-2 from the line to put Grace up by three.

The Lancers fouled in the backcourt with 10 seconds to play to prevent another game-tying 3-pointer from the Pilots, and Bethel made 1-of-2 from the free throw stripe to cut Grace’s lead to two.

Bethel fouled again with five seconds left, and again Grace made 1-of-2 from the line. Grace returned the favor with a foul to prevent a 3-point attempt, and Bethel made the first free throw but committed a lane violation on the second and was forced to foul.

With two seconds on the clock, Merrell gave Grace a three-point edge from the charity stripe, and a fullcourt heave from Benner was off the mark this time as the clock expired.

Grimm was the man of the night with a career-best 35 points to go along with six assists and five steals in 47 minutes of play. He made 10 field goal attempts and was 13-of-17 from the free throw line.

Johnson finished with 19 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks in the post, and Greg Miller posted his seventh double-double of the season with 15 points and 15 boards.

Merrell had 13 points and six rebounds on the night, and Peattie nailed two 3-pointers for eight points.

The Lancers earned at least a share of the MCC title and can claim the championship outright with a win in their season finale at Taylor University on Saturday at 3 p.m. Before this year, Grace had not earned an MCC title since the 1992-93 season.


Grace vs. Bethel: The next chapter...

2/13/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – One of the best rivalries in the NAIA will write a new chapter on Tuesday night with a doubleheader at the Orthopaedic Capital Center.

Both the women's and the men's contests hold great significance in the Mid-Central College Conference standings with only two games remaining in the season.

In the women's game starting at 6 p.m., the Lady Lancers are currently 18-10; 10-6 MCC and are on a four-game winning streak. Grace can tie Bethel for second place in the MCC with a win Tuesday night. The Pilots (19-8; 11-5 MCC) were upset by Grace 67-61 on Jan. 10 and will be looking for revenge.

On the men's side, Bethel will be hoping to play the role of spoiler. The Lancers (21-6; 11-5 MCC) are currently tied atop the MCC standings and need only to win out to secure a share of the conference title. Grace is on a three-game winning streak in the series with the Pilots (15-12; 7-9 MCC), including a 77-69 win on Jan. 10.

Both games can be accessed via Stretch Internet. Follow live stats with the women's game here and the men's game here.


Lancers win thriller over No. 20 Saint Francis

2/11/12

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – No. 5 Grace and No. 20 Saint Francis took turns dealing blows back-and-forth in a classic MCC duel on Saturday, but it was the Lancers who survived by pulling off a 89-87 victory.

Grace shot a remarkable 54 percent from the field in the win, including 16-of-27 on their attempts in the second half to outpace the Cougars in a furious offensive outburst at the Hutzell Athletic Center.

Bruce Grimm Jr. led Grace with 26 points on 10-of-19 from the field and 2-of-4 from beyond the arc. Grimm led the Lancers in points, rebounds (8), assists (4) and steals (2).

The Lancers (21-6; 11-5 MCC) jumped out of the gate with an 8-2 lead before surrendering eight straight points to the Cougars (18-10; 9-7 MCC).

Saint Francis extended their lead gradually throughout the half and led by as many as 12 at 49-37 with under two minutes left in the period.

But Grace forced three turnovers in the final minutes and rattled off seven unanswered points to cut the gap to 49-44 at the break.

The teams played level through five minutes of the second half, but the Lancers used an 11-2 run midway through the half to grab the momentum. Grimm scored six points, and Elliot Smith added four points during that pivotal spurt for Grace.

Grace managed to hold onto their lead for most of the frenetic final minutes as both teams traded crucial baskets down the stretch.

With 1:48 to play, the Lancers opened up a four-point lead when Dayton Merrell finished a layup from a Duke Johnson lob pass, but the Cougars quickly answered with a 3-pointer from Q Owens.

On the next possession, Smith scored to put Grace ahead 88-85 but was once again answered by Owens with a two-pointer of his own with 51 seconds left.

Grace called a timeout to set up their offensive possession, but Grimm misfired on a 3-pointer with the shot clock expiring. Owens sped down the floor for Saint Francis, but his contested shot was off the mark as well, and Dayton Merrell was fouled after corralling in the rebound with 6.6 seconds on the clock.

Merrell made the first free throw to give Grace a two-point edge but missed the second. The loose ball batted off Greg Miller’s hands towards Grimm, who managed to dribble out the final seconds and secure the victory.

Smith finished with 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting with three 3-pointers, Duke Johnson had 13 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks, and Miller added 11 points and six boards.

Tannan Peters scored seven points by hitting all three shots he took off the bench, and Merrell chipped in with seven points as well.

The Lancers won the rebounding battle with the Cougars by two but held a plus-8 advantage in the second half. Grace also only turned the ball over eight times.

Grace is currently tied with Indiana Wesleyan atop the MCC standings with one week remaining in the season. They face longtime rival Bethel College on Tuesday at 8 p.m. at home and then take on Taylor University on the road on Saturday at 3 p.m. in their regular season finale.


Marian drives past Grace in Top 25 battle

2/7/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s men’s basketball team watched their halftime lead quickly dissolve as No. 24 Marian University ran away with a 70-54 victory on Tuesday.

After a strong first half, the Lancers (20-6; 10-5 MCC) squandered a four-point lead when Marian went on a 15-3 run to take control of the game early in the second half.

The Knights (17-8; 8-6 MCC) opened up a double-digit lead midway through the second half and never looked back. All in all, Marian outscored Grace 41-23 in the second half.

With the loss, Grace moves into a tie with Indiana Wesleyan atop the Mid-Central College Conference standings with three games remaining in the season.

Duke Johnson, coming off the bench for the second straight game due to an injury, led Grace with 16 points, 6 boards and 2 blocks in 28 minutes.

The first half was a back-and-forth affair, but the Lancers ended the half on a 9-4 spurt with five points from Bruce Grimm Jr. to enter the break ahead, 31-29.

Unfortunately, Grace unraveled soon after that point.

Grace’s zone defense held Marian to just 37 percent shooting in the first half. The Lancers, on the other hand, found their shooting touch in the opening half by making 12-of-20 shot attempts.

After scoring 18 points in the paint during the opening period, the Lancers were held to just eight points in the paint after halftime. Grace struggled with a 27-percent performance from the field in the second half, including 2-of-10 from beyond the arc.

The Knights tallied 13 assists on their 26 made field goals with only eight turnovers. They managed to grab nine steals from the Lancers, who turned the ball over 15 times in the loss.

Greg Miller tallied a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds to go along with a pair of blocks, and Grimm finished with 10 points and five boards.

The Lancers will take on No. 20 Saint Francis on the road on Saturday at 3 p.m. after the women start the doubleheader with Saint Francis at 1 p.m.


Grace jumps to No. 5 in NAIA poll

2/7/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace's men's basketball team improved three spots to No. 5 in the latest edition of the NAIA Division II Top 25 Coaches' Poll.

They have appeared in the top 10 of the NAIA poll in each edition during the 2011-12 season and lead a pack of four conference teams appearing in the poll.

Last week, the Lancers (20-5; 10-4 MCC) secured their fifth 20-win season in the last six years and 18th in program history.

Grace currently holds a one-game lead atop the Mid-Central College Conference with four MCC games remaining.

The Lancers face a crucial week against a pair of teams appearing in the Top 25, including at home against No. 24 Marian (Tuesday, 7 pm) and on the road against No. 20 Saint Francis (Saturday, 3 pm).

Listen to both games this week live on Stretch Internet.

To view the complete Division II poll, click here.

To view action photos from Grace's 2011-12 season, click here.


NAIA, NCCAA MCC "Player of the Week" awards goes to Grimm

2/6/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Bruce Grimm Jr. won his second Player of the Week award from the Mid-Central College Conference in the last four weeks and his first NAIA and NCCAA Player of the Week awards.

Grimm was crucial in a pair of important MCC wins last week over teams that were receiving votes in the NAIA Division II poll. He averaged 28.0 points, 5.0 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game and turned in a career-high 34 points with five 3-pointers in a win over Goshen College on Saturday.

In addition, he posted a 5:1 assist-to-turnover ratio for the week (10 assists, 2 turnovers). Overall, he shot 50% from the field and 43% from beyond the arc.

Grimm, who became the third individual from the MCC to garner the NAIA weekly award this season, played a key role in No. 5 Grace’s wins at Spring Arbor (Mich.), 75-66, on Jan. 31 and against Goshen (Ind.), 90-76, on Feb. 4. The junior guard opened the week with 22 points and four assists against the Cougars, before posting a career-best 34 points on 10-of-18 shooting, including five 3-pointers, against the Maple Leafs. His showing against Goshen gives him four 30-plus point performances in his career.

Grimm was also MCC Player of the Week for Jan. 9-15 of this year.


Grimm nets career high, Grace flies past Goshen

2/4/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Bruce Grimm Jr. poured in a career-high 34 points with five 3-pointers as No. 8 Grace cruised to a 90-76 victory over Goshen College on Saturday.

With the win, the Lancers (20-5; 10-4 Mid-Central College Conference) maintained their one-game lead atop the MCC standings and secured their fifth 20-win season in the last six years and 18th in program history.

Grimm and Greg Miller got Grace off to a fast start with eight points apiece as the Lancers went ahead 16-6 in the first five minutes of play.

The Maple Leafs (17-9; 7-7 MCC) managed to hold the Lancers to three free throws by Dayton Merrell over the next five minutes, allowing Goshen to slice Grace’s lead to 19-16.

But the Lancers ended the half by scoring 23 points over the final eight minutes, including a deep 3-pointer from Grimm in the waning seconds to put Grace ahead, 45-30.

Goshen was unable to come closer than 10 points the remainder of the game. As a result, the Maple Leafs began to foul with three minutes remaining, and the Lancers converted 10 free throws during that span.

Grimm’s 34 points came on 10-of-18 shooting and 5-of-7 from beyond the arc. He added 5 rebounds, 3 steals and a game-high 6 assists without a single turnover.

Miller tallied the game’s only double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, seven of which came on the offensive end.

Merrell converted 8-of-9 from the charity stripe to finish with 10 points, and Duke Johnson came off the bench after being injured the last two games to total seven points and five boards in 20 minutes.

The Lancers held a dominant 42-29 advantage on the glass, scoring 13 second-chance points and 34 points in the paint. The team made exactly half of their field goal attempts in the first half (14-of-28) and the second half (12-of-24) and sank 41 percent of their 3-point attempts.

The Maple Leafs, on the other hand, finished with 38 percent shooting from the field (26-of-69) and 29 percent from the 3-point line (8-of-28).

With only four MCC games remaining, the Lancers lead the chase for the conference crown by one game over both Indiana Wesleyan and the University of Saint Francis. Grace will hope to get revenge with Marian University when the two square off on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at the Orthopaedic Capital Center. The Knights upset the Lancers 66-57 in Indianapolis two weeks ago.


Grace dominates first half as Kessler wins 650th

1/31/12

SPRING ARBOR, Mich. – Grace’s basketball team played an inspired first half en route to a 75-66 victory over Spring Arbor on Tuesday, a win that gave head coach Jim Kessler his 650th career victory.

The Lancers dominated play in the first period, holding the Cougars to 23 percent from the field (5-of-22) and went into the half with a comfortable 34-17 lead.

No. 8 Grace pushed their lead up to as much as 20 points in the second half and kept Spring Arbor at bay to maintain their one-game lead in the heated Mid-Central College Conference standings.

“We came out and did what we need to in the first half,” Kessler said. “We passed the ball around well and created advantages for ourselves throughout the night. We had several players step up. A road win is a road win.”

Kessler’s milestone makes him one of only nine active NAIA basketball coaches who have reached 650 coaching wins. His all-time record currently stands at 650-498.

“I have had the privilege of coaching a lot of great players over the years who have made me look good,” Kessler remarked. “I consider myself fortunate to be where I am now, and I praise the Lord when I think about these experiences.”

Spring Arbor scored the first points of the game, but the Lancers (19-5; 9-4 MCC) did not trail again after a free throw from Dennis Williams put Grace ahead 3-2.

Although Grace led for practically the entire first half, they took control by closing out the final seven minutes of the half on a 14-4 run.

Elliot Smith was an offensive spark with 10 of his 13 points in the first half, including all three of his 3-pointers.

Grace was on cruise control in the second half, rarely letting their lead dip into single digits despite playing without Duke Johnson for the second straight game. The Cougars (15-10; 6-7 MCC) managed to slice the margin to eight with 51 seconds left, but Grace made 3-of-4 from the foul line to coast to victory.

Bruce Grimm Jr. led Grace’s offense with 22 points, 4 assists and 2 steals. Jacob Peattie was efficient on the offensive end with 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the floor to go along with a pair of steals.

Williams added 12 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks, and Greg Miller chipped in with 4 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals.

Despite shooting just 4-of-19 from beyond the arc (21 percent), the Lancers hit 48 percent from the field compared to 43 percent for the Cougars.

The Lancers will face Goshen College at home on Saturday at 3 p.m. Grace has five games left in the MCC season and currently leads Indiana Wesleyan and Saint Francis by one game in the standings.


Lancers receive No. 8 ranking in NAIA

1/31/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace's men's basketball team continued its stay in the Top 10 of the NAIA Top 25 Coaches' Poll with a No. 8 ranking in the latest edition released Monday night.

The Lancers (18-5; 8-4 MCC) have been ranked among the top 10 best NAIA programs in each poll this year. They received 285 points in the poll, behind overall No. 1 Northwood with 374 points.

Grace currently holds a one-game lead atop the MCC standings and is one of four MCC schools in the Top 25 (No. 16 Indiana Wesleyan, No. 21 Saint Francis, No. 24 Marian).

Grace will face two conference teams in the "receiving votes" portion of the poll this week. They travel to Spring Arbor, Mich., to take on the Cougars on Tuesday at 7 p.m. and then welcome Goshen College to the Orthopaedic Capital Center on Saturday at 3 p.m.

Listen to both games on Stretch Internet.

Click here for exclusive action photos from the men's team this season.


Huntington edges away late versus Grace

1/28/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s men’s basketball team seemed on its way to an important conference win over Huntington University on Saturday despite playing without Duke Johnson.

But a 16-0 run late in the second half gave the visiting Foresters the momentum they needed to hand the Lancers their second-straight loss on Saturday, 77-81.

The Lancers (18-5; 8-4 MCC), who were led by a career-high 33 points from Bruce Grimm Jr., led by as many as 11 points in the second half but could not finish the job.

Grace led 66-55 after a rebound-basket from Dennis Williams with 8:15 left in the game, but the Foresters (14-10; 6-6 MCC) rattled off 16 unanswered points over the next three minutes. Huntington capped off their run with back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers on consecutive trips down the floor to take a five-point lead they would not relinquish.

The Lancers did their best to retake the lead, but their shots at crucial moments did not fall. Huntington secured the upset by going 6-for-6 on free throws in the final 21 seconds.

Huntington found their shooting touch in the first half by hitting 60 percent from the field, but Grace scored 10 straight points midway through the half to take control and went into halftime ahead 41-36.

Grimm was nearly unstoppable in the opening period with 18 points on 5-of-6 from the field, including 2-of-2 from beyond the arc and 6-of-6 from the free throw line.

Overall, Grimm’s 33 points included a 12-of-13 performance from the free throw line and three assists.

Williams totaled 14 points with 7 boards and 2 steals, and Karl Columbus finished with seven points and six rebounds off the bench.

The Lancers only turned the ball over nine times but could manage just seven assists on their 28 made field goals compared to 13 assists on 26 field goals for the Foresters.

Grace, who holds a slim one-game advantage atop the MCC standings, will take on Spring Arbor on the road on Tuesday at 7 p.m.


Grace to RED OUT Huntington on Saturday

1/27/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace's fan section will be decked in red on Saturday for Grace's "Red Out" of Huntington University for Saturday's men's basketball clash on Saturday at 3 p.m.

The first 100 fans wearing their RED ZONE T-shirts into the Orthopaedic Capital Center will receive a free hot dog.

Saturday's conference clash will be televised as TV-46's "Game of the Week" and can be viewed later Saturday night or on Monday at 6 p.m.

The Lancers are currently ranked No. 4 in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches' Poll and hold a two-game lead atop the Mid-Central College Conference. To view action shots from the 2011-12 year, click here.

Listen to the game live at http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/grace.portal# or follow with live stats.


Second-half comeback falls short against IWU

1/24/12

MARION, Ind. – Grace’s men’s basketball nearly wrote a comeback for the ages when they chopped an 18-point deficit down to three in the game’s final eight minutes. But excellent shooting from Indiana Wesleyan allowed them to hold the Lancers off down the stretch for an 82-74 victory on Tuesday.

The Lancers (18-4; 8-3 MCC) trailed by as many as 21 points in the second half, but they refused to go away and made numerous charges late in the game.

Grace’s last run was a 21-6 spurt fueled by five 3-pointers. Jacob Peattie buried two of the treys as did freshman sparkplug Niko Read. The last 3-pointer from Dayton Merrell brought the Lancers all the way back to within three points at 73-70 with 1:52 remaining.

But the Wildcats (14-9; 6-5 MCC) iced the win with five free throws in the waning seconds as they ended the game on a 9-4 run.

Despite the loss, Grace maintained its two-game lead atop the MCC standings as a result of the other conference finishes on Tuesday.

The Wildcats produced their second-best shooting percentage of the season by hitting 30-of-50 from the floor (60 percent).

In the first half, Indiana Wesleyan was even more deadly. The Wildcats misfired on just nine of their 25 field goals, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.

Grace saw their first-half deficit balloon up to 13 points on two occasions but managed to keep the score within single digits for the majority of the opening half.

The second half was a different story, however. The Wildcats used a pair of 8-0 runs to open up their largest lead of the game at 60-39 with 11 minutes left in the game.

Read, a reserve freshman guard, was a major factor in Grace’s comeback. While playing only the final eight minutes of regulation, Read tallied 10 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals and an assist. He finished 4-of-5 from the field and made both of his 3-point attempts.

But despite Grace’s ability to mount a massive comeback on the strength of their outside shooting, the Wildcats held on for the upset at the free throw line.

Peattie led Grace in scoring with 14 points to go along with five boards and three assists. He sank 4-of-5 from beyond the arc including all three attempts in the second half.

Greg Miller finished with 13 points and eight boards, and Merrell and Elliot Smith each made a trio of 3-pointers and tallied with 11 points.

The Lancers lost the battle of the boards by eight overall but forced the Wildcats into 18 turnovers.

Indiana Wesleyan had a 27-7 advantage in free throw attempts, yet could only manage to net 63 percent from the charity stripe.

The Lancers will continue MCC action when Huntington University comes to the Orthopaedic Capital Center on Saturday at 3 p.m. The game will be featured as TV-46’s “Game of the Week.”


Grace holds at NAIA No. 4

1/24/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace's men's basketball team held steady at No. 4 in the latest edition of the NAIA Top 25 Coaches' Poll.

The Lancers (18-3; 8-2 MCC) will put their ranking to the test this week, however, with a pair of games against MCC teams that appear in the receiving votes portion of the NAIA poll.

Grace received 301 votes, behind overall No. 1 Oregon Tech with 338 votes. Other MCC teams in the poll include No. 17 Spring Arbor and No. 21 Goshen.

Grace will travel to Marion, Ind., looking for revenge at Indiana Wesleyan on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. Grace slipped 65-55 in an early-season matchup with the Wildcats when IWU was ranked No. 1. Indiana Wesleyan has gone 5-9 since that win, however, and now find themselves outside the Top 25.

On Saturday, Grace will welcome Huntington University to the Orthopaedic Capital Center for a 3 p.m. tipoff.

Grace currently has a two-game lead atop the MCC standings. They are in pursuit of their first MCC title since 1993. The Lancers have appeared in the Top 10 of the NAIA poll all season-long.


Lancers overwhelm Cougars

1/21/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Dennis Williams scored a career-high 16 points as Grace featured a well-balanced attack to march past Mount Vernon Nazarene 89-63 on Saturday.

The Lancers (18-3; 8-2 MCC) opened up a double-digit lead midway through the first half and never looked back, helping maintain their two-game lead atop the conference.

“As a team, we took a punch against Marian the other night and had to recover,” said head coach Jim Kessler. “Duke [Johnson] hurt his back and was limited tonight, but other people stepped up in his place with Dennis [Williams] and Greg [Miller]. Bruce [Grimm] did a great job of floor management, and Jake [Peattie] and Dayton [Merrell] were big offensively. This was truly a team effort. We stepped up in the face of adversity.”

Williams was a major factor in the first half with 12 points in just 10 minutes of action. Grace used a 9-0 run and 14-5 spurt to gain separation from the Cougars (8-14; 2-8 MCC) and entered halftime ahead 44-30.

Jacob Peattie started the second half red-hot with 11 points in a five-minute stretch. Peattie drained two 3-pointers and also converted an old-fashioned 3-point play in the run. The Lancers opened the half with a 15-5 run to take a 27-point lead with 14:44 remaining.

The Cougars, who won the turnover battle against the Lancers (11 to 15), struggled on the glass. Grace grabbed 20 offensive boards and held a plus-17 advantage overall in rebounds.

Greg Miller pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds. His impressive statline included 12 points, 6 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals as well.

Peattie led Grace in scoring with 17 points and five assists. He knocked down 3-of-4 shots from beyond the arc.

Dayton Merrell tallied 12 points, and Bruce Grimm Jr. added 9 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists.

Williams’ 16 points came on 7-of-11 shooting. He also rejected four shots in just 18 minutes of action.

Overall, Grace held Mount Vernon to just 37 percent shooting from the field. The Cougars, however, drilled 10-of-22 from the 3-point line.

The Lancers produced a 46-percent shooting performance from the field and made 80 percent of their free throws (16-of-20).

Grace will hope to avenge an earlier MCC loss when they travel to Indiana Wesleyan on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. tipoff.


Knights snap Grace's six-game streak

1/17/12

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Marian University continued its upset trend by taking down No. 4 Grace 66-57 on Tuesday night.

The Lancers (17-3; 7-2 MCC), who had their six-game winning streak snapped, struggled to just 38-percent shooting from the field. Marian, on the other hand, shot just under 50 percent from the field while knocking down half of their 3-point attempts.

Duke Johnson led all scorers with 24 points, but his effort was not enough to hold off Marian’s upset.

The Knights (13-7; 4-5 MCC) are now 5-1 against Top 25 teams in the NAIA.

In the first half, Johnson was Grace’s primary weapon with eight of the team's first 12 points.

Marian led for all but one minute of the first half, but Grace managed to stay close thanks to Johnson’s production. The Lancers took the lead at 24-22 with 2:57 remaining on a pair of Johnson free throws.

The Knights, however, ended the half on a 9-1 run, including two free throws from a technical foul by Bruce Grimm Jr. Marian went into the break with a 31-25 lead.

Johnson continued where he left off in the first half, scoring or assisting on 17 of Grace’s 18 points over the first 10 minutes of the second half.

But the Knights were not to be stopped on the offensive end on Tuesday.

Marian hit at a 55-percent shooting clip in the second half and drove their way past the Lancers throughout the final 20 minutes of action.

The Lancers managed to cut Marian’s lead to five at 50-45 with 9:08 left on the clock, but Marian bumped their lead to double digits soon after.

A pair of 3-pointers by Grimm and Dayton Merrell in the final three minutes of action brought the Lancers back to within six points, but the Knights hit 5-of-6 from the charity stripe down the stretch and held on for the upset.

Johnson’s production came on 6-of-11 shooting and 12-of-16 from the free throw line.

Greg Miller, who played 30 minutes after sitting out the past two games due to injury, added 13 points and nine rebounds.

No other Lancer scored more than six points (Grimm, Elliot Smith).

Overall, the Lancers took care of the basketball with 10 turnovers, but their poor shooting from the field doomed their cause.

The Lancers will hope to regain their winning form when they host Mount Vernon Nazarene on Saturday at 3 p.m. The Cougars’ head coach Matt Moore was a Lancer guard and former assistant coach under Grace’s Jim Kessler.


Lancers improve to No. 4 in NAIA

1/17/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – With their sixth straight win, Grace's men's basketball team was awarded by moving up one spot to No. 4 in the NAIA Division II Top 25 Coaches' Poll.

The Lancers (17-2) are off to their second-best start in program history and received 313 total voting points in the poll, behind overall No. 1 Northwood (Fla.) with 343 points.

Grace has been ranked in the top 10 nationally for all six polls this year. Before this year, however, the Lancers had not reached a top-10 ranking since the 1992-93 season.

With a two-game lead atop the Mid-Central College Conference (7-1 MCC), Grace will look to keep a tight grip on first place with a pair of MCC games this week. On Tuesday evening, Grace will travel to Marian University where Grace has not won since Dec. 2, 2008.

On Saturday the Lancers will host Mount Vernon Nazarene University and their coach Matt Moore, a former Lancer player and assistant coach.

Listen to both games live on Stretch Internet here.


MCC names Bruce Grimm "Player of the Week"

1/16/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Junior point guard Bruce Grimm Jr. was named the Mid-Central College Conference Player of the Week on Monday after helping the Lancers to two impressive MCC wins.

Grimm averaged 21.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.0 apg and 2.0 spg, including tying a career high with 31 points in a win over No. 18 Saint Francis on Saturday.

Earlier in the week, he tallied 12 points, 3 boards and 2 steals in a road win over rival Bethel College.

In the two wins, Grimm nailed four 3-pointers (36 percent) and was 75 percent from the foul line.

The Lancers are off to their second-best start in program history, behind only the 1982-83 squad that started 26-2. For the season, Grimm leads Grace in scoring (16.0 ppg), assists (5.0 apg) and steals (1.9 spg).

Grace will play at Marian University on Tuesday night and will host Mount Vernon Nazarene on Saturday.

Listen to both games live on Stretch Internet here.


Grimm's 31 leads Grace past No. 18 Saint Francis

1/14/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Bruce Grimm Jr. tied a career high with 31 points as No. 5 Grace continued its impressive tear through the Mid-Central College Conference with an 81-70 victory over No. 18 Saint Francis on Saturday.

Grimm, along with Duke Johnson (19 points) and Dennis Williams (10), combined for 60 of Grace’s 81 points to keep the Lancers atop the MCC standings.

The Lancers (17-2; 7-1 MCC) are off to their second-best start in program history, behind only the 1982-83 squad that started 26-2.

Grace used a 12-2 run early in the game to open up a 19-9 lead in the first half, but the Cougars (13-7; 4-4 MCC) clawed its way back into the game and eventually used a late 3-pointer to take a 31-28 advantage at halftime.

Johnson came alive from the low post to start the second half, scoring nine points to highlight 12 unanswered points from the Lancers. Johnson finished 5-of-7 from the field to go along with five assists and two blocks.

Williams, who started in place of the injured Greg Miller, contributed all 10 of his points in less than seven minutes late in the second half. Grace led by as much as 18 points, thanks in large part to Williams’s points down the stretch.

Grimm’s 31 points included a trio of 3-pointers as well as 6 rebounds, 5 assists and only 1 turnover.

Williams, who played 29 minutes, hit five of his six shot attempts to go along with four boards and two blocks.

The Lancers valued the ball as evidenced by their eight turnovers. Grace also nabbed seven steals (two apiece from Grimm and Elliot Smith) and forced 12 turnovers defensively on Saint Francis.

In the second half, Grace’s priority to get the ball down low allowed them to connect on 17-of-29 from the field (58.6 percent).

Grace will travel to Indianapolis, Ind., on Tuesday for a matchup with Marian University at 7 p.m.


No. 5 Grace propels past Pilots

1/10/12

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – Duke Johnson’s 15 points and 18 rebounds paced No. 5 Grace, who won their third straight game over Bethel 77-69 on Tuesday.

The Lancers (16-2; 6-1 MCC) strengthened their grip for first place in the Mid-Central College Conference with an impressive performance over their rival Pilots (12-7; 3-4 MCC).

Bethel was poised to take the lead trailing 20-19 midway through the first half. But the Lancers ended the opening period on a 24-10 run, sparked by a trio of 3-pointers by Elliot Smith, to take a 44-29 lead at the break.

Johnson drilled his only 3-point attempt of the game in the waning seconds of the first half to cap off a strong opening 20 minutes of action.

Although the Lancers could not maintain their 56-percent shooting clip from the first half, they compensated by turning the ball over just three times in the second half.

Grace managed to build its lead up to 18 points and never allowed the margin to reach single digits after halftime.

Johnson’s offensive damage was impressive considering he commanded two Pilot defenders most of the night. In addition to his scoring, Johnson tallied 4 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks on only one turnover in 34 minutes of play.

Smith tied his career high with five 3-pointers on nine attempts for 17 points. He also added a pair of assists and a pair of steals.

Karl Columbus was a vital player off the bench with 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting. He also pulled down five rebounds in 22 minutes.

Bruce Grimm Jr. scored 12 points with two steals.

Grace’s final eight-point margin could have been greater had they not turned in their worst free throw performance of the season. The Lancers could only hit 8-of-21 from the charity stripe (38.1 percent).

The Pilots, on the other hand, shot 50 percent from beyond the arc but only 31 percent on 2-point field goals.

Grace now has a two-game edge on top of the MCC. They will host the University of Saint Francis on Saturday at 3 p.m. following the women’s Grace/St. Francis game at 1 p.m.


Lancers jump to No. 5, face rival Bethel

1/10/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s men’s basketball team will travel to Mishawaka, Ind., tonight to play longtime rival Bethel College as the newly minted No. 5 team in the nation.

The Lancers, who enter Tuesday’s game with a 15-2 record, are off to their best start in 20 years. The last team to begin a season this strong was the 1991-92 squad that started 16-2 en route to an NAIA national title.

Grace is coming off four straight victories, including a perfect 3-0 record last week against MCC teams that were ranked or receiving votes in the NAIA Coaches’ Top 25 Poll.

The all-time series with the Pilots is about as close as it can get. Through 116 games, Bethel has a slight edge at 59-57, but the Lancers hope to continue their current two-game winning streak against the Pilots tonight.

Bethel brings an 11-6 record into tonight’s game and currently stands tied for fifth in the MCC with a record of 3-3.

The Lancers are alone at the top of the conference with a 5-1 record.

Listen to live audio of the game at 7:30 p.m. on Stretch Internet. The men’s game is the second-half of the doubleheader as the women’s Grace/Bethel game tips off at 5:30 p.m.


Miller's shot wins thrilling game over No. 19 Taylor

1/7/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Trailing by one to No. 19 Taylor, Grace proved its mettle when Greg Miller's baby hook scored with 4.7 seconds left allowed No. 7 Grace to come away with a 55-54 victory on Saturday.

Bruce Grimm Jr. led all scorers with 19 points, and the Lancers (15-2; 5-1 MCC) secured their best start in 20 years.

With their 15-2 start, Grace is now off to its hottest beginning to a season since the 1991-92 squad that began 16-2 en route to the NAIA national championship.

In a game in which neither team led by more than six points throughout, the Trojans (13-5; 2-4 MCC) thought they were headed into halftime ahead. But Karl Columbus had different thoughts as his halfcourt heave at the buzzer swished in to put Grace up 32-31 at the break.

Midway through the second half, the Lancers scored six straight to go ahead 45-40 for their largest lead of the game with 11 minutes to play. But the Trojans came back with seven unanswered points, and a pair of 3-pointers allowed Taylor to go ahead 50-47 with 6:17 remaining.

Grimm did his best to keep Grace close by scoring six points down the stretch.

Grace still trailed by two points with less than a minute to play when Grimm drew a foul. He was only able to hit 1-of-2 from the line, however, and Taylor’s Casey Coons was sent to the free throw line at the opposite end with 20 seconds remaining.

Coons, who entered the game as a 94 percent free throw shooter, missed the front end of the bonus shots and gave the Lancers a chance to retake the lead.

After Grace’s first shot missed, the rebound attempt was called a jump ball which gave Grace possession out of bounds.

Miller caught the inbounds pass in the lane, made a move to his left and rose above the Trojan defender for the game winner.

Coons tried to steal the win at the buzzer for Taylor, but his 3-point attempt drew the back of the rim.

Miller’s game winner was his only basket of the game.

Grimm added seven boards and four assists to his point total, and Duke Johnson finished with 13 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks.

Karl Columbus made an impact off the bench with7 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals in 26 minutes.

The Lancers held a plus-11 advantage in rebounds, despite shooting just 38 percent from the field.

The Lancers will hope to stay on top of the MCC when they travel to Bethel College on Tuesday. Grace will play a doubleheader with the women’s game at 5:30 p.m. and the men’s game to follow at 7:30 p.m.


Grace grabs first in MCC, beats No. 12 Goshen

1/5/12

GOSHEN, Ind. – In a Top-15 matchup that determined who took over the driver’s seat in the Mid-Central College Conference, No. 7 Grace pulled away late from No. 12 Goshen to win 73-58 on Thursday night.

Jacob Peattie scored 9 of his 19 points in the final 5:30 of regulation, and Bruce Grimm Jr. added 17 points to move the Lancers (14-2; 4-1 MCC) into sole possession of first place in the MCC.

Grace stayed in front for the majority of the first half, building their lead up to 12 points on a three-point play by Dennis Williams with 3:33 left in the half.

Two fouls on Duke Johnson held him scoreless in only four minutes of action in the first half, but Grace’s bench stepped up with 10 points combined from Williams and freshman Karl Columbus. The Lancers entered halftime ahead 34-24.

The Maple Leafs (13-4; 3-2 MCC) slowly chipped away at Grace’s lead in the second half, eventually going ahead 46-44 with 10:20 remaining in the game.

But the Lancers came through with a 10-0 run, starting with a 3-pointer by Dayton Merrell, to take a nine-point lead.

Grace built its lead up to 16 points late in the game, and the exclamation mark on the victory was a fastbreak dunk by Peattie with 1:27 to play.

Both teams turned the ball over 10 times, but Grace’s defense was key by holding Goshen to 31 percent shooting from the floor.

The Lancers, who were outshot 18 to 8 from the free throw line in the first half, reversed roles and attacked the basket in the second half. Grace took 28 foul shots compared to 10 for Goshen after halftime.

Peattie made 6-of-7 from the floor, and Grimm’s 17 points came with 6 rebounds and 3 assists.

Greg Miller had a productive evening with 10 points, 14 rebounds and 2 blocks, and Williams finished with 6 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks and an assist in 21 valuable minutes off the bench.

The Lancers will play their third conference game of the week when they host Taylor University on Saturday at 3 p.m.


Grimm's free throws win MCC thriller for Grace

1/3/12

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – On a night when Greg Miller poured in a career-high 24 points, Grace’s game with Spring Arbor came down to two free throws from Bruce Grimm Jr. with 5.4 seconds left.

After Chris Bellamy’s runner from the baseline put Spring Arbor ahead 67-66 with 10 seconds remaining, Grimm rushed down the center of the court and drew a foul on his layup attempt.

Grimm calmly sank both attempts, and Bellamy’s 3-point shot at the buzzer was off the mark as the Lancers held on for the 68-67 win.

With the victory, the No. 7 Lancers (13-2; 3-1 MCC) move into a tie for first place in the Mid-Central College Conference with Indiana Wesleyan and Goshen, both of whom lost tonight.

“A win is a win, that’s the bottom line,” said head coach Jim Kessler. “They made some really big shots tonight, and they’re a really good team. We’ve gotta be able to win games like this in the conference so I’m pleased.”

The Cougars (11-5; 2-2 MCC) stayed in front for most of the first half and grabbed their largest lead of the game at 22-15. But Grace’s defense picked up its intensity to force several turnovers and shift the momentum.

The Lancers proceeded to run off 10 straight points and ended the half on a 22-8 run to take a five-point advantage into halftime.

Grace opened up an 11-point lead at 64-53 with 6:43 remaining. Spring Arbor cut that lead in half with just under four minutes to play, and the Lancers missed five straight shots down the stretch to allow the Cougars back into the game.

Miller’s 24 points came on 10-of-17 shooting from the floor. He buried four 3-pointers and also blocked three shots in an impressive performance.

Grimm finished with 13 points, 4 boards and 3 assists. Nine players in all scored for Grace. Dayton Merrell had seven points, and Duke Johnson chipped in with eight.

Overall, Grace handled the ball well with 11 turnovers. They were just under 50 percent shooting from the floor at 49.1 percent.

Bellamy led all scorers with 30 points. Only four players scored for Spring Arbor in the game.

The Lancers continue MCC play when they travel to Goshen College on Thursday for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.


Grace's offense unstoppable against Cincinnati Christian

12/31/11

CINCINNATI, Ohio – Grace’s attack was running at a near record-breaking level in their 122-58 dismantling of Cincinnati Christian College on New Year’s Eve.

The Lancers (12-2) started the game off on a 24-8 run and never looked back, entering the break ahead 51-27.

Cincinnati Christian (5-12), who only dressed five players, gave up 71 second-half points to the Lancers, who played 10 players.

Greg Miller nearly etched his name in the record books by hitting 9-of-10 from the field for 20 points. Miller’s mark was one make away from tying John Boal’s 10-for-10 performance against Tennessee Temple in 1984. Miller also hauled in 10 boards.

Bruce Grimm Jr. also nearly added himself to the record books. While he made his only shot of the game (a 3-pointer), his 14 assists in 22 minutes of play were two assists shy of Grace’s single-game record of 16, which is shared by Neal Frantz (1983) and Jerry Ryman (1968).

Overall, Grace made 49 field goals with 38 assists, hitting 69 percent from the floor. The Lancers’ offensive output was their greatest since scoring 129 points on 52 field goals made last season against Ohio University-Eastern.

Duke Johnson led Grace in scoring with 25 points on 11-of-13 shooting. He added 10 rebounds and four blocks in 22 minutes.

Elliot Smith drilled five 3-pointers on seven tries for 19 points to go along with four assists.

Tannan Peters added 13 points, and Karl Columbus chipped in with 12 off the bench.

Lee Ross finished with 5 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds off the bench as well.

With the win, Grace concludes its nonconference season and enters the final portion of its Mid-Central College Conference schedule as the No. 7 team in the nation. The Lancers will play Spring Arbor University on Tuesday at home at 7 p.m.


Drought in second half stifles Grace

12/20/11

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – Midway through the second half, Grace’s men’s basketball team appeared to be on its way to their 12th win of the season.

But a massive 25-4 run by The Master’s College allowed the host team to grab momentum on their way to an 80-68 win over the seventh-ranked Lancers.

Greg Miller got the Lancers (11-2) going early with 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to give Grace an early lead. Grace stayed on top for most of the first half and took a 35-30 lead into halftime when Duke Johnson swished a 3-pointer in the waning seconds of the first period.

In the second half, Grace built up its lead to nine at 43-34 before the wheels came off completely.

Over the next eight minutes, The Master’s outscored Grace 25-4 including a run of 10 straight points and another spurt of 11 points in a row.

After all was said and done, the Mustangs (10-2) were ahead 59-47 with 8:34 to play. With the momentum on their side, The Master’s held off any thought of a Grace comeback down the stretch.

The second half was controlled by the Mustangs on all fronts. They connected on 57.6 percent of their field goal attempts while only committing three turnovers. The Lancers did not record a single free throw in the second half while the Mustangs hit 7-of-10 from the charity stripe after halftime.

The Lancers nailed 11 3-pointers in the game, four of which came from Miller. Miller led the team in scoring with 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Johnson added 17 points in 26 minutes of play before fouling out.

Elliot Smith buried three treys in the game to go along with four assists, and Bruce Grimm Jr. chipped in with 12 points and four assists.

The Mustangs outshot the Lancers 17-4 from the free throw line largely due to the fact that The Master’s was whistled for only six fouls in the game.

The Lancers will have their final nonconference game of the year when they travel to face Cincinnati Christian on New Year's Eve at 2 p.m.


Grace coasts by Holy Names

12/19/11

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – Greg Miller’s 22 points led four Lancers in double figures as Grace eased by Holy Names University, 83-69 on Monday.

The No. 7 Lancers (11-1) used their balanced attack in the first half to grab a double-digit lead. They entered the break ahead 43-31.

But the Hawks (5-10) refused to go away easy. Neither team was able to separate themselves in the second half as Grace outscored Holy Names 40-38 over the final 20 minutes.

Miller’s 22 points came in 29 minutes of play. He nailed 10-of-13 from the field to go along with a game-high eight rebounds.

Duke Johnson added 16 points and six boards, Jacob Peattie tallied 10 points and three steals and Bruce Grimm Jr. chipped in with 11 points and eight assists. Grimm also drilled a pair of 3-pointers.

Off the bench, Dennis Williams proved to be a spark with 7 points, 5 rebounds and a block in 10 minutes of action.

Overall, Grace’s 20 turnovers were mostly nullified by shooting over 50 percent from the field. The team had an incredible 17-for-29 shooting performance (58.6 percent) in the second half.

The Lancers also forced the Hawks into 38.8 percent shooting. Holy Names took 20 three-pointers but could only manage to hit five of them.

The Lancers continue play out West with a matchup with The Master’s College tomorrow.


Defense overpowers Roosevelt

12/10/11

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – In a dominant display, No. 6 Grace used an impressive defensive effort to grab its 10th win of the season with a 78-47 victory over Roosevelt University.

Overall, the Lancers (10-1) forced Roosevelt into 23 turnovers and held them to 31 percent shooting from the field.

“This was a good team effort all the way around,” said head coach Jim Kessler. “It took a little while to get going, but once we did we stuck to what worked. Defensively, I was very pleased with our effort as well.”

Grace made the first burst late in the first half. Both teams played fairly close through the first 13 minutes of play, but a 12-0 run allowed the Lancers to enter the break ahead 31-17.

The Lancers’ defense forced the Lakers (2-6) into 10 turnovers in the half while holding them to just over 30 percent shooting from the field.

That late run by Grace carried over into the second half on a much larger scale. The Lancers opened up the final period on a 28-6 run that put the game well out of reach.

Grace substituted liberally throughout the game with 12 players seeing action in the first half and 14 Lancers making appearances overall.

The Lancers were led in scoring by Greg Miller and Duke Johnson with 12 points apiece. Miller was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line and also hauled down a game-high eight boards.

Bruce Grimm Jr. finished with eight points and six assists, and freshman Karl Columbus came off the bench to produce six points and four assists.

Tannan Peters also chipped in with eight points and four rebounds in 15 minutes of action.

The Lancers next turn their attention to California for their upcoming road trip. Grace will play two games at The Master’s College, first against Holy Names University on Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m. and then against The Master’s on Dec. 20 at 7:30 p.m.


Grimm sinks winner to save Grace

12/9/11

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s back-and-forth game with Daemen College appeared to be headed toward overtime when Jim Regan’s layup tied the game 69-69 with 10 seconds left.

But Bruce Grimm Jr. took the ensuing inbounds pass, raced down to the left baseline and drained a 15-footer with seven seconds left to provide the final score of 71-69.

Daemen went for the win at the buzzer, but their 3-point attempt was off the mark, and No. 6 Grace managed to stave off the upset bid.

“We had to make some big plays at the end – we needed big stops and big shots,” said head coach Jim Kessler. “I was particularly pleased that we didn’t panic at the end when breaks didn’t go our way. This was a good team effort, and I’m proud of them.”

The Lancers (9-1) were able to grab the game’s first lead, but soon enough the zone defense initiated by the Wildcats (5-4) led to Daemen taking control. Daemen went on a 11-0 run to take a 17-10 lead.

Grace eventually found their way through Daemen's zone, managing to tie the score 33-33 entering halftime.

The second half started much better for the Lancers as Grace opened up a six-point lead – their largest of the game.

But Daemen looked to deal the final blow to the Lancers when they went on an 18-0 run over a four-minute span to take a 57-45 lead with 11:20 remaining.

Once again, however, the Lancers showed resiliency and finally retook the lead at 64-63 on a Jacob Peattie 3-pointer with 2:47 to play.

Each team made a pair of free throws and a two-pointer down the stretch, and Grimm had a chance to give Grace a three-point cushion at the free throw line with 21 seconds left but hit 1-of-2 from the charity stripe to set up the final two possessions.

“This was a very athletic team, more so than most teams we will see,” Kessler continued. “Their zone threw us for a little bit of a loop, but our bench gave us some big minutes, and I was very pleased with the depth we showed.”

Grimm led the Lancers with 17 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists.

Greg Miller finished with 15 points, Duke Johnson added 14 points and eight boards, and Elliot Smith had 10 points.

Overall, Grace outrebounded Daemen by nine which helped make up for their 19 team turnovers.

The Lancers will look to secure their 10th win of the season on Saturday when they take on Roosevelt University at 3 p.m.


Johnson's late buckets holds off Huntington

12/3/11

HUNTINGTON, Ind. – In a classic back-and-forth Mid-Central College Conference game that featured 11 ties and 13 lead changes, Grace held on for a 77-75 win at Huntington University on Saturday.

Duke Johnson, who hit 9-of-10 shots, played a crucial role down the stretch for Grace.

With the score tied 59-59 with seven minutes remaining, Johnson scored four straight to give Grace breathing room.

Huntington, however, stormed back to take a two-point lead with 3:21 to play. But Johnson again had the answer with buckets on back-to-back possessions to give the Lancers (8-1; 2-1 MCC) a 73-71 lead they would not relinquish.

Down the stretch, Grace’s defense held and free throws from Bruce Grimm Jr. and Greg Miller iced the win for the Lancers.

Grimm was the offensive leader for Grace, pouring in 27 points on 10-of-17 shooting. He also pulled down four rebounds and had three assists and two steals.

The Foresters (8-3; 1-2 MCC) stayed ahead for the first 15 minutes of the first half, leading by as much as eight points, before a basket by Miller gave Grace a 22-21 lead.

The teams traded baskets for the final five minutes of the half, and Grimm ended the half with a basket in the final seconds as the teams headed to their locker rooms tied 31-31.

The Lancers earned their biggest lead of the game on a 3-pointer by Miller to make the score 45-39 with 15:11 to play.

Huntington had plenty of resolve to battle back, but Johnson’s shots in the final minutes proved to be the difference.

Johnson finished with 18 points in just 20 minutes of play after struggling with foul trouble. He managed to pull down six rebounds in those minutes to lead all players.

Miller tallied nine points and four boards, and Elliot Smith hit a pair of 3-pointers for his 10 points.

The Lancers, who hit 54.7 percent of their shots overall, stepped it up in the second half to nail 18-of-26 from the floor for nearly 70 percent (69.2 percent). Grace buried five treys in the second half on seven attempts as well.

Defensively, Grace produced seven steals – two from freshman Karl Columbus.

The Lancers welcome Daemen College and Roosevelt University to the Orthopaedic Capital Center on next Friday and Saturday respectively. Grace’s game with Daemen is at 7 p.m., and they play Roosevelt at 3 p.m. on Saturday.


Poor shooting dooms Grace against No. 1 IWU

11/29/11

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – In an early-season battle between two of the nation’s top teams, No. 4 Grace could not unsettle top-ranked Indiana Wesleyan on Tuesday night, falling 55-65.

On a night where snowy, freezing conditions delayed the tipoff of the highly anticipated Top 5 showdown, Grace’s ice-cold shooting touch allowed the Wildcats to win the battle of the two unbeatens.

The Lancers (7-1; 1-1 MCC) hit 15-of-54 from the floor in the game for a woeful 27.8 percent and managed to connect on only 25 percent of their 3-pointers.

The Wildcats (8-0; 2-0 MCC) used a 12-0 run near the beginning of the game to open up a 15-6 lead, and Indiana Wesleyan never trailed again.

The teams traded baskets into the half as Indiana Wesleyan led 33-26 at the halfway mark.

The game seemed to continue that trend until midway through the second half when Grace made its run. The Lancers, trailing 43-35, scored 10 of the next 13 points to cut the score to 46-45 on a pair of free throws by Dayton Merrell.

Bruce Grimm did his best to keep Grace’s hopes alive late in the game. He scored 10 of his game-high 20 points in a five-minute stretch, but Indiana Wesleyan slowly but surely pulled away. The Wildcats iced the game with six free throws in the final minute of play.

Grace’s poor shooting was most evident in the second half when they made less than 25 percent of their shots and less than 19 percent of their 3-point attempts.

Although Grace only committed 12 turnovers all game, they were outrebounded by 14 by the Wildcats.

Duke Johnson battled foul trouble with nine points on seven shot attempts to go along with six boards, and Merrell and Greg Miller each finished with seven points.

The Lancers will hope to bounce back in MCC play on Saturday when they play at Huntington University at 3 p.m.


No. 9 Grace continues perfect season in MCC opener

11/22/11

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio – Grace men’s basketball team won by 22 in their conference opener on the road against Mount Vernon Nazarene by the score of 91-69.

The Lancers, who placed five players in double-digit scoring, earned their seventh straight victory to open the season.

The Cougars (4-3; 0-1 MCC) in their MCC debut led 10-9 to start the game, but the Lancers rattled off 11 unanswered points to take a lead they would not relinquish.

Mount Vernon battled back, however, to cut the margin to four, but Grace was able to build their lead back up to 10 on a deep 3-pointer by Jacob Peattie as the first half expired.

After Grace had earned a 21-point lead at the midway point of the second half, Mount Vernon mounted their comeback attempt on the back of their 3-point shot.

The Cougars, who hit 11 treys in the game, hit four 3’s in less than four minutes to chop Grace’s lead in half. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Ben Severns made the score 71-62 with 5:31 to play.

But Elliot Smith drained a 3-pointer of his own on the next possession, and Grace put the game out of reach with an 18-1 run.

“For our conference opener, I’m happy with how our guys came to play today,” said head coach Jim Kessler. “Offensively, we handled the ball well, and I thought we weathered the storms each time Mount Vernon made a run.”

Grace, who outscored Mount Vernon 38-11 in bench points, was led by Greg Miller’s 19 points in 24 minutes off the bench. Miller nailed 9 of 12 shot attempts to go along with six rebounds and three assists.

Duke Johnson had a well-rounded night with 14 points to go along with six boards. He also recorded a game-high seven assists with zero turnovers.

Bruce Grimm Jr. tallied 18 points, 4 boards and 3 assists, Peattie finished with 15 points and six boards and Smith added 10 points with a pair of 3-pointers.

Overall, Grace’s defense forced the Cougars into 21 turnovers and held them to 40 percent shooting from the field. The Lancers, on the other hand, tallied 18 assists on 13 turnovers and connected on over half of their field goals (52.2 percent).

For Kessler, he earned the first victory over Cougars’ head coach Matt Moore in their head-to-head coaching matchup. Moore played under Kessler for four years and was also an assistant coach at Grace before taking Mount Vernon’s head coaching position.

The Lancers will continue MCC action with a Top 10 matchup with Indiana Wesleyan on Tuesday. No. 9 Grace will host No. 2 Indiana Wesleyan at the Orthopaedic Capital Center for a 7 p.m. tipoff. The updated NAIA Top 25 poll will be released the day before on Monday.


Johnson named MVP as Grace wins second tourney

11/19/11

ALBION, Mich. – Grace’s men’s basketball team won its second tourney of the young season with senior Duke Johnson leading the way.

This time, the Lancers defeated the host school Albion College 78-67 in the Mike Turner Tip-off Tournament on Saturday.

Johnson was named Tournament MVP for the second time this season with 15 points. He nailed 9 of 10 from the free throw line and added three assists as well.

The Lancers (6-0) had trouble distancing themselves from the Britons (1-1) in the first half as the score was tied six times before halftime.

But Grace used back-to-back 3-pointers by Elliot Smith and Jacob Peattie to turn a one-point deficit into a 38-28 lead at the break, and the Lancers never trailed after that run.

Grace maintained a double-digit lead for much of the second half, but Albion made a push with four minutes to play. A trey and a pair of free throws brought the Britons to within five at 70-65.

Greg Miller dealt Albion the final blow, however, with four straight points to thwart Albion’s comeback attempt as Grace held on for the 11-point win.

Six players, including all five starters, scored 10 or more points led by Smith’s 16. Smith hit 4 of 5 shots from beyond the arc.

Bruce Grimm Jr. added 12 points, 5 assists and 3 steals, and Peattie tallied 12 points, 5 boards, 3 assists and 3 steals.

Miller nailed five of his six shots for 11 points to go along with a game-high seven rebounds, and Dayton Merrell finished with 10 points as well.

The Lancers hit a sizzling 62.8 percent from the field, including 7 of 10 from the 3-point line. Although they committed 20 turnovers, they outrebounded Albion by five.

Grace will open its conference season on the road on Tuesday when they travel to MCC newcomer Mount Vernon Nazarene. The 7 p.m. tipoff features a coaching matchup of Grace’s Jim Kessler and former Lancer guard and assistant coach Matt Moore, who is in his third year as the head coach of the Cougars.


Grace holds off pesky Warriors

11/18/11

ALBION, Mich. – In an offensive showcase that featured 180 combined points, Grace’s men’s basketball team did just enough to put away the University of Akron-Wayne College 94-86 on Friday night.

The Lancers (5-0) will have a chance to win their second tournament of the young season when they play the host Albion College in the championship of the Mike Turner Tip-Off Tournament on Saturday.

No. 9 Grace led from start to finish against the Warriors but could not build a lead of more than 15 points.

Duke Johnson scored on three consecutive possessions for Grace to help open up a 19-9 lead early on, but as was the case much of the night, the Warriors would not go away.

UAWC slowly whittled down Grace’s lead to four at 35-31 with 7:33 remaining in the half, but the Lancers struck back to take a 58-45 lead entering the half.

In the second half, the Warriors hit four 3-pointers midway through the half to slice what was a 15-point margin into a 73-72 score with 7:32 to play.

But Elliot Smith canned a couple of well-timed treys to give the Lancers a manageable lead and allowed Grace to hold on for their eight-point victory.

Johnson and Greg Miller took team honors with 19 points. Miller was 8 of 13 from the field with 7 rebounds and 4 blocks, and Johnson hit 9 of his 15 attempts to go along with a game-high 13 boards.

Smith hit three 3-pointers en route for his 18 points. He also tallied seven boards and three assists, and Jacob Peattie finished with 16 points.

Bruce Grimm Jr. ended the game with 8 points, 6 assists and 4 steals.

The Lancers’ championship game with Albion on Saturday will tip off at 4 p.m.


Lancers win Top 10 showdown with No. 8 Embry-Riddle

11/12/11

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – In an early-season battle between two of the NAIA's Top 10 teams, No. 9 Grace College pulled away late over No. 8 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) to win 82-73.

Grace stayed in front for most of the game but could not manage to gather a lead of more than 11 points.

The Eagles (2-1) looked to sneak ahead late when they grabbed momentum and the lead at 62-61 with under six minutes remaining, but baskets by Duke Johnson and Jacob Peattie down the stretch helped the Lancers (4-0) seal the championship of the Hoops for Hope KCCCF Tournament.

“This was a very good Embry-Riddle team, and I think our guys rose to the occasion tonight,” said head coach Jim Kessler. “We stuck with our strengths and made plays when we needed to.”

The Lancers took a 13-12 lead five minutes into the game, and they would not relinquish that lead until midway through the second half.

Embry-Riddle turned up the defensive pressure late in the second half, and the Eagles were able to convert a few turnovers into points to cut into Grace’s lead.

The Eagles’ high moment came with 5:55 remaining when they converted a dunk and ensuing free throw for a three-point play to take a 62-61 lead.

But the Lancers responded with 10 straight points to seize control of the game for good. Johnson scored six in a row, including a two-handed jam, and Peattie added four during the game-changing run.

Johnson was named the Tournament MVP and finished with 23 points and seven rebounds. He nailed 10 of his 13 shot attempts and also recorded four assists and two steals.

Bruce Grimm Jr., who was also named to the All-Tournament Team, finished with 18 points, 8 assists and 6 boards, and Dayton Merrell chipped in with 11 points.

Jacob Peattie was named the Hoppus Mental Attitude Award winner. He tallied 12 points and four assists, and Dennis Williams added seven points and eight boards.

Greg Miller also had a well-rounded performance with 6 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.

Overall, the Lancers held a plus-14 advantage on the glass and connected on 61 percent of their field goal attempts in the second half.

The Lancers will play in the Mike Turner Tip-Off Tournament in Albion, Mich., next weekend. Grace will play the University of Akron-Wayne on Friday at 6 p.m. then finish with the consolation or championship game on Saturday.


Grace's defense clamps down

11/11/11

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s men’s basketball team opened the 2011 Hoops for Hope KCCCF Tournament with a 74-55 victory over Missouri Valley College.

The Lancers’ (3-0) defense made scoring hard to come by for the Vikings (1-2), especially in the first half when Missouri Valley was held to 16 points.

Grace got off to a fast start with Duke Johnson’s and-1 bucket in the game’s first 15 seconds, and the Lancers continued to dominate the game early.

Grace opened the game with a 19-2 run, sparked by six points apiece by Elliot Smith and Dennis Williams.

While the Vikings recovered offensively after Grace’s initial run, the damage was done as the Lancers had doubled up the Vikings at the half, 32-16.

The Lancers eventually built their lead up to a game-high 31 points with 9:26 remaining before coasting to their third straight win and a place in the championship game on Saturday.

Johnson took scoring honors with 17 points and seven boards, including a perfect 9 for 9 from the free throw line.

Smith buried four 3-pointers with 14 points, and Bruce Grimm Jr. tallied 14 points, 6 assists and 4 steals.

Williams just missed a double-double with nine points and nine boards, and Dayton Merrell finished with three points and five boards.

Overall, Grace outrebounded Missouri Valley by 10 and converted on 23 of their 27 free throw attempts (85.2 percent).

With the win, the Lancers set themselves up for a championship bout with No. 8 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) on Saturday at 5 p.m.

Listen to the championship game live on Stretch Internet here.


Grace basketball set to host talent-filled tournament

11/10/11

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace's men's and women's basketball teams are gearing up for the 2011 Hoops for Hope KCCCF Tournament this weekend at the Orthopaedic Capital Center.

The suggested donation to watch the games is $5 which will go directly to Kosciusko County Cancer Care Fund (KCCCF).

Four teams ranked in the Top 25 of the NAIA Coaches' Poll will be on display this weekend, including No. 9 Grace's men's basketball squad and the 24th-ranked Lady Lancers.

The women's side of the tournament is a classic format with No. 9 Concordia (Mich.) playing IU-Southeast at 2 p.m. on Friday and No. 24 Grace playing Northwestern Ohio at 6 p.m. Grace will then take on the ninth-ranked Cardinals at 3 p.m. on Saturday which will be preceeded by IU-Southeast versus Northwestern Ohio at 11 a.m.

In the men's tournament, No. 8 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) will open the weekend for the men with their matchup with Missouri Baptist at 4 p.m. on Friday. No. 9 Grace will play in the nightcap at 8 p.m. versus Missouri Valley. The consolation game on Saturday will be at 1 p.m. with the championship to take place at 5 p.m., potentially with an NAIA Top 25 clash of Grace and Embry-Riddle.

Live stats for all the women's games can be found here, while live statistics for the men's games can be accessed here.

Each Grace basketball game can be heard live on Stretch Internet throughout the weekend.


Offense erupts in second half

11/5/11

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s men’s basketball team shot a remarkable 63 percent in a 47-point second half, blowing past UC-Clermont in No. 9 Grace’s homecoming game.

The Lancers (2-0) used a 20-2 early in the second half to seize control of the game.

“We had some spurts where we played well, so now the focus is to get that play the whole game,” said head coach Jim Kessler. “We still have some kinks to work out, but the season is still beginning.”

Grace started the game out with a bang – or a dunk to be more accurate. After Grace won the tipoff, Bruce Grimm Jr. lopped a quick alley-oop to Jacob Peattie for a dunk in the first five seconds of play.

Peattie then went on to make a steal and throw down a second dunk barely 15 seconds into the game. After a quick miss by the Cougars (0-1), Peattie released early and got his third breakaway basket in a row.

Duke Johnson added four more free throws to help the Lancers out to a 10-0 lead.

The Lancers, however, would score only two more points during the next seven minutes to allow the Cougars to stay within striking distance as the half ended with Grace leading 42-31.

UC-Clermont managed to cut the lead to single digits with 17:07 remaining, but that’s when Grace started its run sparked by Grimm.

Grimm poured in 14 points over the next eight minutes to help the Lancers sprint away to a 30-point lead, and Peattie added six straight during Grace’s 20-2 run as well.

Although Grace committed 21 turnovers to just 12 assists, they helped themselves out with a plus-16 advantage on the glass.

Grimm took home scoring honors with 31 points on 10 of 18 from the field and 10 of 16 from the free throw line.

Peattie finished with 23 points on 7 of 10 shooting to go along with five steals, Duke Johnson had 12 points and six boards and Lee Ross tallied 6 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals.

Dennis Williams also added 11 rebounds and two blocked shots in 19 minutes of play off the bench.

The Lancers will host a quality field of competition next weekend at the KCCCF Hoops for Hope Tournament. Grace will face Missouri Valley on Friday at 8 p.m. and will play in the championship or consolation game on Saturday.


Grace starts hot in season-opening win

10/29/11

DEERFIELD, Ill. – No. 9 Grace started its 2011-12 campaign in convincing fashion with a 94-57 rout of Trinity International on Saturday.

The Lancers shot over 50 percent from the field and over 40 percent from the 3-point line as everything seemed to go Grace’s way in their season opener.

“I’m very pleased with this performance for our first outing of the year,” said head coach Jim Kessler. “We handled the ball well and made the smart passes. It’s a long year, but this is a good start for us.”

Jacob Peattie took scoring honors on the night with 21 points on 6 of 10 shooting, including 3 of 4 from beyond the arc. He also nabbed four of Grace’s nine steals.

Grace started the game on a 14-3 run to set the tone for the game. Trinity International managed to battle back to tie the game at 18 apiece. But Grace stayed ahead and used a 13-3 run to end the half and enter their locker room ahead 43-31.

The Lancers opened the second half with 14 unanswered points to blow open the game, and they finished the game on a 15-3 run for the final margin of victory.

All five starters finished with double-digit scoring for Grace, led by Peattie’s 21 points.

Bruce Grimm Jr. finished the game with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists and 0 turnovers, and Greg Miller tallied 13 points and eight boards.

Dayton Merrell had a well-rounded performance with 12 points, 7 boards and 6 assists, and Duke Johnson chipped in with 14 points and six rebounds.

Benjamin Euler came off the bench to add five points and four rebounds in 20 minutes of play, and Tannan Peters and Dennis Williams each finished with six points.

The Lancers forced the Trojans into 19 turnovers and held them to 37.9 percent from the field. Grace held a plus-20 advantage on the glass with 17 offensive rebounds helping their cause.

Grace will now prepare for their Homecoming matchup with UC Clermont on Saturday at 3 p.m.


 

Men's basketball No. 9 in preseason poll

10/24/11

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – After its third trip in four years to the NAIA Division II National Championships, Grace's men's basketball team has been ranked No. 9 in the Preseason Top 25 Poll, which was released on Monday.

The Lancers, a year after finishing 22-11 and 11-5 in the Mid-Central College Conference, have four of five starters returning.

Senior center Duke Johnson highlights Grace's lineup after leading Grace in scoring (15.7 ppg) and rebounding (7.2 rpg) a season ago. He will be joined by junior guard Bruce Grimm Jr., who was named the MCC's Newcomer of the Year and an honorable mention to the NAIA All-American Team.

No. 2 Indiana Wesleyan, the reigning MCC champion, and No. 13 Saint Francis, the 2009-10 national champion, are the two other MCC schools in the top 25. Taylor University and Marian University appear in the receiving votes section of the poll.

Grace will open their season on the road against Trinity International at 7 p.m. on Oct. 29 before returning for their Homecoming matchup with UC Clermont on Nov. 5 at 3 p.m.

To see the complete release, click here.