Buzzer beat sinks No. 23 Grace

SPRING ARBOR, Mich. – A last-second shot by Spring Arbor sunk Grace’s men’s basketball team by a score of 82-81 on Tuesday.

The Lancers (17-10, 9-6 Crossroads League) and Cougars put on an efficient offensive performance. Each side shot over 50 percent from the floor and 43 percent on 3-pointers, and the teams had single-digit turnovers apiece.

Despite the loss, Grace is still alone in third place in the league standings with three games remaining in the regular season.

Sons had the game’s only double-double with 21 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.

The Lancers’ offense was slow to start Tuesday’s game. As a result, SAU jumped out to a 20-8 lead after seven minutes of play.

Grace missed seven shots over the first seven minutes, but Grace refused to panic and clawed back into the game.

Sons helped the Lancers’ attack jumpstart with five straight points, and Hank Smith also buried a 3-pointer.

With nine minutes left in the half, Matt Jennings converted an and-1, and Charlie Warner scored to cut SAU’s lead to one. Soon after, Haden Deaton scored in the paint to put the Lancers on top 25-24.

Grace flexed its way ahead, and two triples by Braxton Linville and Jennings had Grace leading 45-39.

The Cougars beat the halftime buzzer with a 3-pointer near halfcourt, but Grace still led 46-44 at the intermission.

Despite the slow start, Grace still shot 52 percent from the floor in the half while SAU shot 56 percent. The Lancers hit seven 3-pointers at a 50-percent clip and committed just two turnovers.

Sons scored 12 points to lead the team in the half, and Jennings added eight points.

The game stayed close throughout the second half; the teams took turns holding a small lead.

With less than six minutes to play, Sons and Warner hit back-to-back triples to break a tie. SAU called timeout facing a 79-73 deficit.

Unfortunately for Grace, the Lancers scored just two more points for the final five minutes of regulation.

With 49 seconds left, SAU made a jumper to cut Grace’s lead to 81-80.

After a timeout by head coach Scott Moore, Warner swished a floater. But Warner’s basket was called off due to a charging violation.

The Cougars had the ball with 23 seconds on the clock and a chance to take the lead, and SAU made good on that chance. Brandon Durnell shot a fadeaway jumper, and his shot rattled around the rim and fell through the net as time expired.

Deaton scored 17 points with four rebounds and three assists, and Jennings had 16 points, 3 assists and 3 boards.

Warner ended with 12 points, and Linville added five points and four helpers.

The Lancers are back home on Saturday, hosting St. Francis for a doubleheader. The women’s game will start at 1 p.m. with the men’s game against No. 15 Cougars to tip off at 3 p.m.