Grace Basketball to play at Purdue on Nov. 1
Grace’s basketball team is pleased to announce an upcoming exhibition game at Purdue University on Nov. 1.
The Lancers will travel to Mackey Arena for the first time in school history to take on the Big Ten powerhouse.
Purdue and Grace both enjoy basketball-rich traditions and are coming off impressive seasons.
The Boilermakers posted a 29-6 record last season under head coach Matt Painter, winning the regular season and tournament championships in the Big Ten.
They earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Nov. 1 game will be Purdue’s first contest of the season.
Purdue is headlined by the unanimous National Player of the Year in 7-foot-4 center Zach Edey. The senior won all six major National Player of the Year awards and was the Big Ten Player of the Year. He led the Big Ten in scoring (22.3 points per game), rebounding (12.9) and field goal percentage (60.7 percent). Coach Painter returns all five of his starters from last season.
Grace finished with a sterling 31-4 record under fifth-year head coach Scott Moore. Last season, the Lancers were the premier team in the Crossroads League, widely regarded as the top basketball conference in the NAIA.
“This is an incredible opportunity not only for our team, but for our entire college and community,” Moore said. “I have so much respect for Coach Painter and how he runs his program. This is a tremendous honor to be able to compete against one of the top programs in the country.”
Grace won the regular season and postseason tournament titles in the Crossroads League. The Lancers have now won back-to-back Crossroads League Tournament championships.
Grace was then awarded a No. 1 seed in the NAIA tournament and was selected as a host site for the NAIA First and Second Rounds (a first-time accomplishment for the program).
The Lancers beat Columbia International and Madonna on their home court, advancing to the NAIA’s final site in Kansas City. Grace eventually marched to the Elite Eight before falling.
Grace won its second-most games (31) and had the best winning percentage (.886) in its 66-year history.
The Lancers boasted a balanced attack last season with six players scoring 8.0 points or more. Four of Grace’s five starters are back for the 2023-24 campaign along with nine of its top 10 scorers.
Elijah Malone headlines the returners with 14.9 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. He shot 62 percent from the floor and 35 percent on 3s. Malone was named an NAIA Second Team All-American at the conclusion of the season.
The Lancers will be playing at a Big Ten opponent for the second time in team history. Grace played Indiana University at Assembly Hall on Nov. 4, 2009.
The connection between Grace and Purdue has multiple strands. Terry Johnson, Purdue assistant coach, played for the Anderson Lawmen (an independent baseball league). Briscoe, Grace’s A.D., was working at the front office for the Lawmen at the same time.
Additionally, Purdue junior forward Caleb First starred in high school at Blackhawk Christian for head coach Marc Davidson, who passed away in 2022. Three of Coach Davidson’s sons (Frankie Davidson, Marcus Davidson, Jimmy Davidson) have played in Grace’s program and played with Furst in high school.
“This is a tremendous opportunity, and we are grateful to Coach Painter and his staff,” said Grace Director of Athletics Chad Briscoe. “I appreciate the friendship with Coach Johnson over the years as well. I’m excited for Lancer Nation to have this incredible experience that will create memories for years to come.”
Tickets to the Grace/Purdue game can be secured by reaching out to Purdue’s ticket office or online at www.purduesports.com.