MONTGOMERY, W.V. – An otherwise close game was blown open late between Grace and West Virginia Tech on Tuesday.
The Lancers (8-7) surrendered a massive run in the final six minutes of play, letting the Golden Bears (9-4) escape with a 86-72 win.
The teams could scarcely be separated for the first 33 minutes of action on Tuesday. The score was tied 11 times, and the lead was never greater than six points until the final stages of the game.
The Golden Bears held a slight 70-68 lead with 6:58 left in the game after a basket by Erik Bowen.
The teams’ offenses had opposite outcomes over the last six minutes of regulation. Grace struggled to score just four points for the rest of regulation and were completely shut out for the last two minutes.
The Golden Bears, conversely, found success with their fast break attack, taking advantage of Grace’s misses to employ a game-changing 16-4 run until the final buzzer.
Over the last six minutes, Grace had six turnovers and also missed on 6 of its eight field goals.
The struggles in the final portion of the game spoiled an otherwise strong offensive outing. Grace still shot 53 percent from the floor, including 44 percent from beyond the arc.
The Lancers did struggle on the boards, losing the rebounding battle 40-19. WV Tech enjoyed 20 offensive rebounds and scored 18 second-chance points.
Grace’s scoring was balanced to start the game; eight players contributed to the team’s first 23 points.
The Lancers led for a large chunk of the first half, including a 34-28 lead after a 3-pointer by Stephen Halstead.
The Golden Bears eked out a 46-45 lead at halftime. Grace’s offense was lethally efficient, shooting 57 percent from the floor. The Lancers also had 11 assists on 17 made shots and committed just two turnovers.
WV Tech did its damage on the glass. The Golden Bears had more offensive rebounds (13) than Grace had total boards (9) in the half, outrebounding Grace overall by 16 before halftime.
Five players for Grace scored in double figures for the game. Bowen finished with 13 points and four rebounds, and Braxton Linville added 10 points and five assists.
Charlie Warner and Jaret Sons each scored 10 points off the bench, and Halstead also had 10 points to go along with four boards. Tre Olive tallied 7 points, 5 assists and 4 steals.
The Lancers will travel down to Radford on Friday for a taste of NCAA Div. I competition.