Grace’s men’s basketball team may have struggled with its shot for much of Wednesday’s game with Webber International, but the Lancers made shots when it counted.
The Lancers’ clutch free throw shooting in the final minute proved the difference as Grace held on for a 60-57 win over the Warriors (3-9). The Lancers (11-4) never trailed on Wednesday in the final game of its Florida road trip, but the Warriors refused to fade.
Grace blitzed the Warriors from the get-go, claiming an 11-3 lead to force an early timeout from Webber. The Lancers led by as many as 11 in the first half and earned a 28-22 advantage at halftime.
Dennis Williams nearly had a double-double in the opening period with nine points and 10 rebounds. Grace only made 13-of-37 from the floor (36 percent) before halftime, but Webber struggled even more at 27 percent.
Grace bumped its lead back up to 11 points in the second half, but the Lancers allowed the Warriors to stay alive.
Webber made its push with five minutes left in the game, trimming a 10-point deficit down to 50-48 with 4:00 on the clock. The Warriors knotted the score for the first time all game at 53-53 on a 3-pointer with 1:03 to play. But Grace went on to win the game at the free throw line.
With the score tied, Dennis Williams was fouled and made both foul shots to give Grace a two-point edge. Brandon Vanderhegghen came up with a steal on Webber’s next possession, and Logan Irwin made two free throws to put Grace ahead by four.
The Warriors scored on the next play, and Vanderhegghen was sent to the free throw line where he made 2-of-2 with five seconds on the clock. Webber cut the lead to two points with one second on the clock, and Kyle Fillman was quickly sent to the free throw line where he made 1-of-2 for the final margin of victory.
All in all, Grace sank 7-of-8 from the free throw line over the final 34 seconds. Apart from the final 34 seconds, Grace made just 4-of-10 from the free throw line the rest of the game.
Grace struggled mightily from the 3-point line, going 1-of-19 and missing its last 16 shots from beyond the arc.
Dennis Williams put in Grace’s strongest performance with 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting to go along with 20 rebounds. Fillman scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half, and Niko Read added 14 points and three assists.
The Lancers turned the ball over a season-low six times, and they also held a dominant 51-30 advantage in rebounds. Williams nearly outrebounded Webber’s team by himself with his 20 boards.
Grace will not play again until 2015 with a men’s/women’s doubleheader at archrival Bethel College.