Matt Chalupa had 22 points, Matt Skelly added 17 and Grinnell scored the first nine points on its way to a 119-95 victory over Monmouth on Saturday in the Midwest Conference. It was the season finale for both teams, since neither was one of the four schools to qualify for the conference tournament.
The Pioneers (8-15, 6-10) had 3-pointers for their first five baskets and ran out to a commanding lead almost from the start on Senior Day at Darby Gym. John Bruns and Ross Preston each got starting nods in their final home games for Grinnell, and Bruns wasted no time to shoot. He missed a 3 only 5 seconds into the game and Kale Knisley got the offensive rebound. The ball went back to Bruns, and this time he didn't miss, giving the Pioneers a 3-0 lead.
The margin was 66-41 at the break and got below 20 only once in the second half. Grinnell finished 36-for-87 from the field, including 20-for-55 from beyond the arc, and forced 24 turnovers.
Freshman guard Marques Valdez had a great effort, filling up his stat sheet with 12 points, six rebounds, five assists, one block and one steal, all in 10 minutes of playing time. Knisley was equally impressive, going for six points, 10 boards, two blocks and two steals in 11 minutes. Bruns scored 12 points on four 3s.
With only two seniors saying farewell to "The System," coach David Arseneault should have an experienced squad back next season. I have no doubt he'll lead his team back to the top of the Midwest Conference.
Elsewhere, the Olivet Nazarene women's team used a big second half to blow away Robert Morris College 122-88 Saturday in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference. Holly Wiersema led the way with 25 points -- eight 3-pointers sure helped -- and Simone Coburn added 19 points and seven rebounds. Danielle Pipal came up huge, as well, going for eight points, 11 assists and six steals; the Tigers (12-16, 4-4 CCAC) had 17 steals and forced 35 turnovers.
Early in the second half, a jumper by Chanel Jones-Delas brought Robert Morris (15-12, 2-6) within 10 before a layup by Rachel Kearney started a 15-2 spurt over a bit more than 4 miutes that allowed ONU to take complete control. It was 83-60 at that point, and the margin never again was under 20 points. The Tigers put up 65 points after halftime to post their second-highest total of the season.
With two games remaining in the regular season, ONU sits fourth in the conference, one game behind Indiana-South Bend. Coach Doug Porter and his team travel to Holy Cross College on Tuesday before finishing at home against Indiana-South Bend next Saturday. Good luck to the Tigers.
Finally, coach Bunky Harkleroad and Glenville State College held off Davis & Elkins 91-82 Saturday, the final road game of the season for the Pioneers (15-8, 13-6 West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference). Autumn Davis made six 3s and scored 22 points, and Donita Adams added 21 points. Glenville State was a bit off in the second half, converting only 5 of 20 shots from downtown, but still had enough for its third consecutive victory.
The score was tied at 78 with 3:08 remaining in the second half when Ginnie Petties made a layup to give the Pioneers the lead for good. That opened a 13-2 run to break open the game and leave them one game in the loss column behind the leaders in the WVIAC. Seton Hill has won 10 straight to move to 15-5 in the conference, with West Virginia Wesleyan and Charleston University sitting at 14-5. Fairmont State and Shepherd are tied with the Pioneers at 13-6.
Coach Harkleroad's bunch hosts Alderson Broaddus on Monday at 5:30, then entertains Salem International on Thursday before completing the schedule against West Virginia Wesleyan on Saturday. I hope this final week goes well for Glenville State.