WINONA LAKE, Ind. - The fans got their money’s worth Saturday afternoon at the Orthopaedic Capital Center where the No. 10 Lancers of Grace College (5-2, 2-1) outlasted the Forester men’s basketball team 89-88.
HU’s starters accounted for all but 11 of the Foresters’ points with Shane Merryman leading the way with 27. TJ Short tossed in 15, Alec Peterson added 13 and Ryan Boester and Tyler Ault finished with 12 and ten points respectively.
Merryman and Stephen Jones each dished out four assists. Peterson corralled eight boards and swatted two shots.
The Foresters (4-5, 1-2) won the scuffle down low, tallying 44 points in the paint to the Lancers’ 34 but Grace scored 22 points off HU’s 14 turnovers while Coach Platt’s squad only converted 12 points from ten Lancer miscues.
It was a well-played contest and a battle to the bitter end as the contest featured 12 ties and 27 lead changes.
Boester posted ten points in the first half to guide HU to a four-point advantage of 41-37 by halftime. The Foresters shot 60.0 percent (15-for-25) in the period with Grace having similar success by shooting 57.1 percent (16-for-28).
HU held on to the lead through the first six minutes of the final period before the Lancers came knocking. After a quiet first half, Bruce Grimm Jr. came alive in the second half. The Crossroads third leading scorer scored the first seven points of the half to steal the lead at 42-41.
Behind Ault’s bucket in the paint and long bomb, Huntington was able to build back their four-point cushion at 48-44 by the 15:55 mark. The visitors hung onto the lead over the next two minutes but Grimm made sure it didn’t stick. He scored 14 of his game-high 31 points in the final 14 minutes to give the Lancers the upper hand.
Over the next five minutes, the teams exchanged the lead nine times. With the scored tied 64-64 at the midway point of the half, GC pieced together an 8-2 run to take their largest lead of the night at 72-66. HU battled back to recapture the lead at 81-78 with just under three minutes remaining but things fell into place for the Lancers after that.
Caleb Featherston banked in a three to knot things up at 81-81. The Foresters went on to reclaim the lead two more times before the Lancers took over. A missed free throw and costly turnovers in the final minute proved disastrous for HU as the Lancers closed out the contest by going 5-for-6 from the charity stripe to seal the win.
In addition to Grimm’s 31 points, Grace landed three others in double digits. Elliot Smith poured in 17 while Greg Miller added 12 to go along with eight rebounds. Featherston came off the bench to finish with ten points.
HU is back in action to take on Great Lakes Christian College on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Platt Arena. The Foresters claimed an 85-75 win over the Crusaders earlier this season.