INDIANAPOLIS – The strong late-season push for Grace’s men’s basketball team continued with a 70-68 comeback at Marian on Tuesday.
The Lancers (13-14, 5-10 Crossroads League) improved to 4-1 in their last five games thanks to a critical late-game run.
Grace faced a nine-point hole with nine minutes remaining in the game. But a decisive 18-2 run by the Lancers swung the momentum of the game for good.
The Knights (12-15, 3-12 CL) were stifled into just one made bucket over the run, which spanned nearly six minutes of action. Chad Hoffer was responsible for 10 points during Grace’s charge, including six unanswered points in just over a minute.
When Erik Bowen hit two foul shots to cap off Grace’s spurt, the Lancers led 61-54 with 3:23 remaining.
Marian did its best to recover, twice cutting Grace’s lead down to one possession. In a furious rally, the Knights stole an inbounds pass and scored on a layup to make the score 67-65 with 16 seconds to play.
Stephen Halstead responded by hitting a free throw, but Marian turned the ball over with a chance to tie the game. Halstead promptly sank two more foul shots to ice the win.
For the game Hoffer led Grace with 16 points off the bench, shooting 6-of-10 from the floor. Tre Olive scored nine of his 13 points in the second half, and Bowen collected a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds.
In the opening half, Grace got off to a quick start. Four different players scored for Grace in the first 3:09 of action, leading the Lancers to an 8-3 advantage.
But the Knights were the better side for much of the first half. Marian pulled ahead 28-15 after hitting a deep 3-pointer with eight minutes to play.
The Lancers had most of their success near the hoop, scoring 16 points in the paint before halftime.
Grace made a push late in the half. Halstead hit a transition 3-pointer from the right side to cut Marian’s margin to six with two minutes remaining.
A minute later, Charlie Warner rattled in a trey over Marian’s zone to cut Grace’s deficit to 32-27 at halftime.
The Lancers shot 37 percent for the first half compared to 43 percent for the Knights.
In the second half, Marian maintained a slight margin over Grace. But the Lancers hung around and eventually made their game-changing run with nine minutes left in regulation.
Despite outscoring Marian by seven in the second half, Grace still committed 10 turnovers in the half. But the Lancers shot 57 percent after halftime and were 18-of-23 from the foul line.
Hoffer did most of his damage in the second half, producing 13 of his game-high 16 points in the last 20 minutes.
The Knights settled for 3-pointers in the second half without much success. Marian missed its first 11 triples of the half before hitting two in a desperation comeback bid.
The Lancers return home Saturday for a doubleheader with Spring Arbor. The women’s game will tip off at 1 p.m. with the men’s game to follow at 3 p.m. Saturday will also be Senior Day for both basketball squads.