Sunday, December 13, 2009

Grinnell falls at No. 8 Wheaton

The Pioneers fell behind early and never really recovered, losing to the Thunder 127-100 on Saturday night at Wheaton's King Arena. In the latest poll, Wheaton is ranked eighth, and lost to top-ranked Washington (Mo.) 64-62 earlier in the week. This continued the toughest non-conference schedule in years for Grinnell, according to Coach A and his son/assistant, Dave.

Wheaton's Tim McCrary had a triple-double in the victory, finishing with 35 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists as the Thunder shot 69 percent from the floor. Other eye-popping numbers from the box:

  • Wheaton finished with 53 assists on 59 baskets, a pretty amazing ratio even against "The System." That assist total tied the Division III record set in Nov. 25, 1995, by Simpson against, surprise, Grinnell. That day, those two teams combined for a Division III record 79 assists. The Division I mark is 44 assists, set by Colorado against George Mason (then coached by run-and-gun innovator Paul Westhead) in 1995. And the Division II mark likely never will be broken -- Troy totaled 65 in 1992 against NAIA DeVry. More on this game later.
  • The Pioneers held another opponent without a 3-pointer, leaving them with one allowed through eight games. The Thunder were 0-for-3 from beyond the arc.
  • Freshman Dylan Seelman led Grinnell with 19 points in 14 minutes, including 6-for-11 on 3s. Griffin Lentsch, another frosh, went for 14 points, followed by Matt Skelly (11) and Xander Strek (10).
  • The Pioneers took 84 shots, falling short of "The System" goal of 94, with 46 of them coming from downtown.
  • The parity in playing time was noteworthy even for Grinnell, with 14 players getting at least 11 minutes of run. Two more players got 7 minutes apiece, and a total of 18 players got on the court.

Grinnell now is off until Jan. 5, when Midwest Conference foe Lake Forest travels to Darby Gym for a 8 p.m. EST tip. Good luck to Coach A and the guys, and Happy Holidays to everyone from Grinnell.

Now, more on Troy's effort against DeVry, back in 1992 ...

You likely have heard something about this game, if you're even a casual fan of basketball. This was back when Troy was D-II and running its own version of "The System," which coach Don Maestri got directly from Westhead. Many records were set in that one, and here are some highlights:

  • Troy won 258-141, setting the all-division NCAA record for points (duh!).
  • The Trojans finished 51-for-109 on 3-pointers, and both those figures are all-division marks, as well (double duh!).
  • Overall, Troy was 102-for-190 from the field, putting two more (everyone, say it together ...) RECORDS in the books.
  • And, of course, there were the 65 assists.

Oddly, one other total from that game only tied a record: 10 different players making a 3.

Finally, congratulations to coach Evan Massey and his Galesburg High School girls' team, which set an Illinois state record Saturday by attempting 71 3-pointers. The Streaks made 18 in a 83-67 victory over Morton in the Mid-Winter Classic. Each time they make at least 13 3s, the members of the school's "Three-diculous" Club get a free triple cheesburger from an area McDonald's.

It's a promotion Massey came up with he decided to go to "The System" this season. A group of students spells out the letters to "cheesburgers" whenever a Galesburg player hits a trifecta. Pretty neat.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about the Streaks' effort was they had to come back and play a more-athletic squad from Peoria Central later in the day. Peoria Central (8-2) rallied to win 90-81, but Massey was pleased with his team's effort.

"With Central, it was the first time that against a team significantly quicker than us, we were able to do some things with our press," he told the Galesburg Register-Mail. "Our 1s and our 5s really got up and got interceptions more than they have at any time."

Kudos to the Streaks (6-5). I'll be keeping up with you this season.

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