Grace’s men’s basketball team blew by Marian University on Tuesday night, using its post strength to win 70-57.
The Lancers (20-7, 10-5 Crossroads League) secured their 21st 20-win season in program history with the victory. Two players for Grace notched double-doubles, including Dennis Williams (20 points, 13 rebounds) and Brandon Vanderhegghen (16 points, 10 boards).
Grace’s interior presence was felt in a major way in the first half. After a sluggish start offensively to the game, the Lancers sparked to life courtesy of Williams. The senior center converted three straight post moves to hand the Lancers a 20-14 lead with 10 minutes left in the half.
Grace continued to pound the Knights (16-11, 7-8 CL) down low, gradually opening up a 40-24 lead at the break.
The Lancers scored 22 of their 40 points in the paint and hit 57 percent of their shots from the floor. Williams scored 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting in the first period, and Grace held a plus-five advantage in rebounds.
The Knights were held scoreless for over five minutes to start the second half, allowing Grace to open up a commanding 45-24 lead. Marian still had one last rally in its arsenal, however.
Marian drained 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions to highlight a massive 18-4 charge. The final trey from Nick Painter brought the Knights to within seven at 49-42 with 9:32 to play.
Vanderhegghen responded coolly with a 3-pointer on Grace’s next possession to stretch the lead to 10, and Chad Hoffer made the play of the night on the next sequence. Hoffer stripped the ball from Jason Riley, then raced down the floor to slam down a vicious one-handed dunk. The Knights were unable to get within single-digits of Grace’s lead after Hoffer’s dunk.
Grace was efficient in every aspect of the game except free throw shooting (43 percent). The Lancers made 52 percent of their field goals, including 44 percent from beyond the arc. Grace also turned the ball over eight times and nabbed six steals from Marian.
The Lancers were particularly dominant down low, grabbing 15 offensive boards for 14 second-chance points. Grace outscored Marian in the paint 42-12 and had a plus-nine advantage in rebounds.
Williams scored his 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting, and Vanderhegghen drilled 3-of-4 from the 3-point line. Erik Bowen tallied a career-high 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the bench, and Logan Irwin notched seven points and five assists.
The Lancers have another home game on Saturday when Huntington comes to the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center for a3 p.m. tipoff.