Lancers fall to No. 15 Spring Arbor

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace College’s men’s basketball team fell short of a third straight conference upset with a 74-67 defeat to No. 15 Spring Arbor.

The Lancers (13-6, 5-2 Crossroads League) held the lead for almost the entirety of the first half, but a big run from the Cougars in the second half was too much to overcome.

Jaret Sons, fresh off being named NCCAA National Player of the Week, just missed a double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds. Braxton Linville added seven points along with six assists.

The Cougars (12-7, 3-4 CL) grabbed a lead to start the game, but Myles Johnson was on fire for the Lancers. The freshman forward had Grace’s first six points off a pair of deep 3-point baskets.

Sons hit his second 3-pointer of the game six minutes in and gave the Lancers their largest lead of the half at 18-10.

Both teams were shooting over a 50 percent clip early in the half, but the Lancers struggled to gain separation from the visitors. Midway through the half, Spring Arbor had brought themselves back within one at 23-22.

Johnson hit his third trifecta of the half to extend the Lancers’ lead to 30-24. But Grace’s lead was trimmed to 41-39 by halftime.

Johnson led the Lancers with nine points in the first half and was a perfect 3-for-3 from the field. Sons added six points and four rebounds.

The Lancers shot a staggering 68 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes; they shot an impressive 7-of-11 from beyond the arc.

Grace was able to keep Spring Arbor at bay during the opening minutes of the second half. Charlie Warner scored to put the Lancers ahead 48-41 just over four minutes into the half, but it would be Grace’s last basket until the 7:48 mark.

During the seven-minute stretch, Grace went scoreless on offense and turned the ball over four times. Spring Arbor took advantage and went on a 16-0 to build a 57-48 lead.

Linville ended the Lancers’ drought with a floater in the paint.

Sons reignited the crowd with a 3-point basket that breathed life back into the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center, bringing Grace to within four at 59-55.

Spring Arbor showed no panic, however. With just over a minute left in regulation, Grace was staring at a 69-61 deficit.

Grace did its best to produce a dramatic comeback, benefiting from three missed Cougar free throws and 3-pointers by Sons and Warner. Warner’s last triple chopped the deficit down to 70-67 with 46 seconds remaining.

The Cougars squelched any further rally, however, making four straight foul shots to ice the win.

Johnson and Warner each finished the game with 13 points.

As a team Grace shot over 50 percent from the field, but the Lancers surrendered 44 points in the paint and turned the ball over 15 times.

Grace will travel to Ohio on Saturday to take on Mt. Vernon Nazarene (16-3, 4-3 CL) at 3 p.m.