DUBUQUE, Iowa – Grace’s men’s basketball team dropped its first game of the season on Friday, falling 75-71 at Clarke in overtime.
The Lancers (7-1) struggled with their shooting touch throughout the contest, hitting a season-low 39 percent from the floor. Grace also hit just 9-of-28 from the 3-point line and 10-of-20 from the free throw line.
Despite Grace’s shooting woes, the Lancers had a chance to beat Clarke in regulation. Grace trailed the Crusaders (4-4) by five with less than three minutes to play, but Erik Bowen converted a three-point play to make the score 65-63 with 2:01 remaining.
Bowen then made a steal on Clarke’s next possession, and a layup by Josh Ruggles tied the score. The game remained deadlocked at 65-65, and Grace got a defensive stop with 30 seconds left to take the final shot. The play never formulated for Grace, however, and a desperation 3-pointer by Bowen in the final second was off the mark.
Grace twice led by three points in the overtime period, but a late drought doomed the Lancers. Clarke ended the game on a 7-0 run over the final 2:00, turning a three-point deficit into a four-point win. Grace’s three possessions in the final two minutes were a trio of missed 3’s, and Clarke scored on three of its final four possessions to rally for the OT win.
Bowen muscled his way to the only double-double of the evening, leading all players with 19 points and 15 rebounds. Brandon Vanderhegghen produced 13 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals, and Logan Irwin added 12 points, 4 assists and 4 steals.
Ruggles scored eight points off the bench, and Kyle Fillman had seven points and five boards.
Stephen Halstead, fresh off his program-record 10 3-pointers on Thursday against Lincoln Christian, continued his hot shooting by hitting both of his 3’s for seven points.
Next up, the Lancers will transition to the start of the Crossroads League season. Grace hosts Taylor on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the league opener.