FORT WAYNE – The Grace College men’s basketball team lost consecutive games for the first time all season with a 74-69 defeat at the hands of Saint Francis on Saturday.
Despite the loss, Grace’s Greg Miller reached a personal milestone by scoring his 1,000th career point. He is only the 45th Lancer to reach the 1,000-point plateau.
Grace currently has three 1,000-point scorers on their roster including Bruce Grimm Jr., and Elliot Smith.
The Lancers (13-6; 5-3 Crossroads League) forced the Cougars into 21 turnovers but were unable to come back from a 12-point deficit in the second half.
The Cougars (13-6; 5-3 CL) stayed in front for the first 10 minutes of action until seven straight points from Grace put them ahead 19-18.
The remainder of the half was a back-and-forth affair with five ties and nine lead changes. Grace took a slight 38-37 advantage into the break thanks to a last-second basket from Bruce Grimm Jr.
While Saint Francis struggled controlling the ball (10 turnovers) in the first half, they did not struggle with their shooting touch. The Cougars made 56 percent of their shot attempts.
Saint Francis scored the first hoop of the second half to reclaim the lead and never trailed again.
The Cougars tallied 11 unanswered points to go up 52-40, forcing a timeout from Grace.
The Lancers slowly clawed back into contention after that and closed the gap to 64-63 with 3:20 remaining on a 3-pointer from Brandon Vanderhegghen.
But Saint Francis scored on four of their next five possessions to effectively end Grace’s comeback.
Overall, Grace’s defense recorded 12 steals, but they allowed Saint Francis to make 55.3 percent from the field.
Grimm led all players with 21 points to go along with five rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Greg Miller added 11 points, and Vanderhegghen scored 11 off the bench in 19 productive minutes.
The Lancers will hope to return to their winning ways next week with a pair of league games. Grace will host Marian on Tuesday before concluding the week at Mount Vernon Nazarene on Saturday.