Defensive Struggles Mark Grace’s Defeat

Grace’s men’s basketball team was unable to find an answer to No. 5 Bethel on Saturday.

The Pilots (10-1, 2-1 Crossroads League) connected on 54 percent shooting en route to a 98-76 victory.

Grace never fully recovered from its first-half struggles. The Lancers (8-3, 1-2 CL) gave up 51 points in the opening half and faced a daunting 51-32 deficit at halftime.

The tone for the game was set from tipoff. Bethel opened the contest by scoring 11 unanswered points.

Bethel’s lead hovered around 10 points until seven minutes left in the first half. The Pilots ripped off a 12-0 run and cruised to their 19-point advantage at halftime.

Grace did its best to stay within striking distance in the second half. A pair of free throws from Erik Bowen cut Bethel’s margin to 81-67 with 7:07 remaining, but that proved to be the high point of the second half for Grace.

Brandon Vanderhegghen led Grace in scoring, producing 16 points with four 3-pointers before fouling out. Logan Irwin finished with 13 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds.

Chad Hoffer produced 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting off the bench, Bowen added 13 points and five boards, and Tre Olive chipped in five points and two rebounds.

Grace buried 10 3’s in the contest, but the Lancers were outrebounded 45-31. Grace also struggled mightily from the charity stripe, missing 11 of its 19 free throws (42 percent).

The Lancers’ next game is a high-profile matchup with IU-Southeast. The game will be held at the NBA Pacers’ Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. For ticket information, call Grace’s athletic office at (574) 372-5100 ext 6266.

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