WINONA LAKE – Struggles on offense defined the Grace College men’s basketball team in a 60-50 defeat to No. 15 Taylor on Saturday.
The Lancers (9-13, 1-9 Crossroads League) only connected on 31 percent shooting for the game, making 2-of-18 from beyond the arc.
Defensively, Grace held Taylor to 23 points beneath their season scoring average. But the Lancers were unable to overcome a poor shooting afternoon at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair. The lead was never greater than six, and the lead changed hands seven times.
Grace’s Logan Godfrey scored the first six points of the game to give Grace an early 6-0 lead.
Taylor eventually recovered to go ahead by five at 24-19 with 3:47 on the clock. But Grace closed the gap with eight straight points, including an and-1 from Braxton Linville to help the Lancers to a three-point advantage.
But the Trojans scored four quick points to end the half and go ahead 28-27 at halftime.
Both teams shot under 39 percent from the floor, and Grace was 0-for-8 from beyond the arc. The Lancers did hold a plus-six advantage in rebounding and got to the free throw line 10 more times than Taylor.
In the second half, Grace’s shooting did not improve. The Lancers struggled to hit 28 percent of their field goals and only two of their 10 triples.
Despite Grace’s shooting woes, the Lancers remained in the contest until the end. Godfrey’s and-1 tied the game at 33-33 with 16:15 remaining.
But Grace hit a dry spell, going scoreless for the next 6:30 to allow Taylor to open up a nine-point edge.
The Trojans eventually opened up a 48-37 lead, but Grace came charging back. Stephen Halstead scored four quick points, and Tre Olive and Erik Bowen scored back-to-back hoops to cut the Trojans’ margin down to four with 3:55 remaining.
On Taylor’s next possession, the Trojans hit a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to give Taylor a boost. The Lancers went on to miss their next four shots, allowing the Trojans to ease away for a 10-point win.
Olive led Grace with 12 points, adding five rebounds and a block, and Godfrey added 11 points, 7 boards and 2 blocks while shooting 4-for-4 from the floor.
Bowen added nine points and seven rebounds, and Halstead scored eight points.
As a team, Grace committed 17 turnovers and had just six assists. The Lancers did outscore Taylor 24-16 in the paint and got to the free throw line 23 times.
At halftime of Saturday’s game, the Lancers honored the 1992 NAIA championship team from Grace. Several players and staff joined together back in Winona Lake to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Grace’s national title.
The Lancers hit the road twice next week, traveling to Mt. Vernon Nazarene on Wednesday and Goshen on Saturday.