WINONA LAKE – The Grace College men’s basketball team slipped 79-76 on Saturday to Clarke in the finale of the Terry Polston Hoops for Hope.
The Pride (4-3) won the game with nine seconds left on a putback layup. The Lancers (5-3) had a chance to hit a game winner, but after racing down the full length of the court, Braxton Linville’s floater was off the mark.
Grace’s shooting took a dive after halftime. The Lancers made 46 percent as a team from the floor in the first half and led 40-34 at the break.
Clarke trailed for all but 28 seconds of the first half and fell behind by as much as 27-17.
But the Pride’s defense gave Grace fits in the second half. The Lancers shot just 38 percent from the floor, including a paltry 2-of-13 (15 percent) from the 3-point line.
Clarke gradually chipped away at Grace’s cushion and took a 56-54 lead with 13 minutes remaining.
Grace erupted over the next four minutes in what seemed to be a game-changing run. The Lancers rattled off 11 unanswered points to climb ahead 65-56. Matt Jennings accounted for six of the team’s 11 points.
But Clarke responded calmly, using a 14-0 run of its own to reclaim the lead 70-65 with 5:20 left to play.
The Pride still led by three points with two minutes on the clock, but Linville and Jennings scored a pair of quick layups to put Grace on top 76-75 with 1:09 remaining.
Both teams came up empty on their next possession, but Clarke had the ball at the end. Ernest Bolden missed his first shot in the waning seconds, but he muscled his way to an offensive rebound and scored the putback for what turned out to be the game-winning play.
Bowen, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, led all players with 18 points, adding six rebounds and three assists. Jennings was also an All-Tournament honoree and finished with 10 points off the bench.
Linville flirted with a triple-double, producing 9 points, 8 assists and 8 rebounds without committing a turnover, and Logan Godfrey tallied 11 points and nine boards.
Haden Deaton picked up 12 points with four rebounds, and Jaret Sons tallied nine points and seven rebounds in 17 minutes. Stephen Halstead, who scored five points, was given the tournament’s Hoppus Mental Attitude award.
The Lancers will kick off the Crossroads League season at home on Tuesday. Grace will host No. 6 Indiana Wesleyan at 8 p.m. as part of a doubleheader with the women at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.