A lockdown defensive effort by Grace’s men’s basketball team aided Grace’s 72-52 dismantling of Taylor on Tuesday night.
The Lancers (9-1, 1-0 Crossroads League) held the Trojans to 27 points below their season scoring average of 79.3 per game in the Crossroads League opener.
Logan Irwin and Chad Hoffer shared scoring honors in the contest with 15 points apiece. Irwin contributed five assists and five rebounds, and Hoffer grabbed four rebounds with his two 3-pointers.
Defense was key for Grace in the first half. The Lancers held Taylor to 27-percent shooting in the half as the Trojans had as many turnovers (6) as made field goals (6) before halftime.
Grace jumped ahead 16-6 after nine minutes of action. The Trojans (4-3, 0-1 CL) were stifled into just 18 first-half points and trailed by as many as 17 points. The Lancers led 31-18 at the break, led by eight points off the bench from Chad Hoffer. Grace shot 48 percent from the floor and outrebounded Taylor 20-11 over the first 20 minutes.
Within three minutes of action in the second half, the Lancers opened up a 20-point lead. Irwin converted a fastbreak layup then buried a 3-pointer on the next possession to hand Grace a 41-20 advantage.
The Trojans could only shave a few points off Grace’s cushion in the second half, getting no closer than 50-32 with 12:50 to play. But the Lancers’ game plan proved too much for the Trojans. Head coach Jim Kessler substituted freely in the final five minutes of the contest.
Grace had a distinct advantage in the post, outrebounding Taylor 38-24. The Lancers outscored the Trojans 46-20 in the paint and scored 16 second-chance points. No Trojan player scored more than nine points.
Caleb Featherston stuffed the stat sheet with 11 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals, and Brandon Vanderhegghen scored nine points with two steals. Kyle Fillman chipped in 6 points, 5 boards and 2 blocks, and Niko Read added seven points and four rebounds.
The Lancers will put their 9-1 record to the test after Thanksgiving break, starting with a road matchup at No. 1-ranked and defending national champion Indiana Wesleyan on Tuesday at 7 p.m.