UPLAND – The Grace College men’s basketball team finally got the proverbial monkey off its back.
With an 80-78 victory at Taylor on Saturday, the Lancers picked up their first Crossroads League victory and snapped an 0-9 start to the league season.
Logan Godfrey was the hero on Saturday. His hook shot with 2.6 seconds remaining lifted the Lancers (8-14, 1-9 CL) over Taylor.
Godfrey’s 21 points and 15 rebounds were both game-high marks, and he also added two blocks on 9-of-13 shooting from the floor. Erik Bowen also had a double-double with 10 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists.
Grace was outscored by seven in the first half as the Lancers struggled to find their shooting touch. The Lancers shot just 39 percent from the floor and were 2-of-7 from beyond the arc.
The Trojans (12-10, 3-7 CL) pulled ahead by 11 late in the first half after drilling back-to-back 3-pointers, but Grace quickly battled back.
Charlie Warner converted an and-1; minutes later he sank a triple to cut the Trojans’ margin down to 40-33 by halftime.
Grace still faced an eight-point hole with 12 minutes remaining, but the Lancers erased that with nine unanswered points. Stephen Halstead hit a 3-pointer, Grace made four free throws, and Godfrey’s basket with 9:56 to play gave the Lancers the lead.
The teams could hardly be separated over the final 10 minutes; neither side led by more than four points for the rest of the contest.
The score was tied 72-72 with 3:30 on the clock. Taylor hit two free throws to go up, but Haden Deaton responded with a bucket to tie the game. The Trojans scored again, but Braxton Linville answered with a floater to tie the score with 2:18 remaining.
The Trojans took their third lead of the final three minutes with 1:30 left, but Linville answered again with a nifty reverse layup.
Both teams had chances to score on their next possession but came up short. The Trojans then had an untimely turnover to set up Grace for a game winner.
Grace made good on its chance. Bowen caught the ball at the high post and passed down to Godfrey in the paint. Godfrey turned and cleanly swished his hook with seconds remaining. Taylor did not draw iron on its halfcourt heave to secure Grace’s win.
Matt Jennings recorded 14 points and five boards, Deaton added 12 points and five rebounds, and Linville chipped in 6 points, 5 assists and 3 steals. Halstead hit three 3-pointers for nine points, and Warner added eight points.
The Lancers return home for two games next week. Grace hosts Mt. Vernon Nazarene on Tuesday at 7 p.m. and Goshen on Saturday at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.