Monday, January 5, 2009

Grinnell is back on track

It's all good back in the cornfields of Iowa (that's where my Grinnell Pioneers do their thing). Coach David Arsenault and the boys traveled to St. Louis to face Fontbonne University on Monday, a rare 5 p.m. local time weekday start, and they will return home with a couple of school records along with their victory.

The Pioneers (6-3) won 163-145 before a whopping crowd of 100, establishing a new high for points in a game; the previous best was 160 against Martin Luther College ("Nothing good ever comes of zone defenses") on Nov. 23, 2002. At the half of this one, Grinnell led 88-76 despite allowing the Griffins to make 83 percent of their shots in the first 20 minutes.

Fontbonne went cold after the break and only shot 71 percent. The lone lead for the home team came at 3-0 on a Brian Fogerty's three-point play 9 seconds into the game.

Also, Grinnell senior John Grotberg finished with 36 points to become the leading scorer in school history, surpassing Steve Wood's total of 2,379 points. Grotberg now has 2,385 with more than half the season left. Grotberg was 13-for-26 from the field, including 10-for-19 from beyond the arc. Of course, all that production came in 23 minutes of playing time.

Bobby "Ironman" Long was even better, playing a team-high 25 minutes, setting a career high with 44 points and adding nine 3s of his own. The Pioneers were 35-for-69 for the game from downtown and finished at 53 percent overall. That's good shootin'.

Oh, and the point guard, young David Arsenault, had another double-double, his ninth in nine games, with 28 points and 11 assists (and one turnover).

Grinnell returns to action Saturday with a road game against Midwest Conference rival Illinois College. The Pioneers are 3-0 in the MWC, one of four unbeaten teams.

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