Ah, it seems like old times for me and the blog. Sitting up late, anxiously waiting for a box score to be posted from another Grinnell victory. Let's party like it's 2009!
Griffin Lentsch made 10 3-pointers and finished with 36 points, Matt Skelly, Matt Chalupa and Jesse Ney connected on four 3s apiece and the NCAA Division III Pioneers opened their season by beating Lindenwood-Belleville 120-90 Tuesday night in the friendly confines of Darby Gym.
The big scorers weren't the only contributors for coach David Arseneault's squad. Point guard Scott Kaitz had nine points and nine assists (with no turnovers), post Kale Knisley had seven rebounds and five steals and Alex McDonald filled up his stat sheet without even scoring - the 6-foot-4 senior contributed six boards, three assists (with no turnovers), two blocks and three steals, all while likely setting numerous screens to free up Lentsch. All in all, a total team effort for Grinnell.
Here are The System numbers for those keeping track: 108 shots attempted, 73 3-pointers (27 made), offensive rebounds on 39 percent of the misses, 40 forced turnovers (24 steals) and a shot differential of 30. Chalk one up to The Formula for Success, right?
And, as always, a host of players got in on the action, with 14 players getting at least 10 minutes of run and 20 players in all getting on the court. Skelly had 16 points, Chalupa went for 14, Ney scored 12 and freshman Aaron Levin got 10 in his debut. Remember, Coach A told us in our preview of the Pioneers that Levin was the best of his first-year players and likely the best all-around player on the team.
Lentsch certainly made the most of his return. He played in only 11 games last season because of any injury and got off to a great start in this one, scoring the first points of the season on a jumper 35 seconds after the opening jump. His first 3 came about 3 minutes in and he added 22 of his points after the break, when Grinnell eventually pulled away to lead by as many as 42 points.
Devon Weaver led the Lynx (1-4) with 21 points.
Coach A and the Pioneers are off until Monday when they travel to Des Moines, Iowa, to play Buena Vista at Wells Fargo Arena. This is a prelim for an NBA D-League game featuring the Iowa Energy. Game time in that one is 6 p.m. EST, so check back here for an update.
Meanwhile, in Vienna, W.Va., the Glenville State women's team coached by Bunky Harkleroad lost in overtime at Ohio Valley University 114-110 in NCAA Division II West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play Tuesday night. Looking at the stats, this set of Pioneers (2-1) did everything well except make their normal amount of shots. It appeared to be one of those games where each player was a little bit off: they finished 10-for-49 on 3-pointers and made only 3 of 25 in the second half and OT.
Glenville State trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half before rallying to take a 57-50 lead at the break on a 3-pointer right before the horn by Beth Deren, thanks to an assist from Miranda Reed. The margin grew to 10 in the second half. But the home-standing Fighting Scots, who finished 4-24 overall last year and 2-20 in the WVIAC, bounced back to move ahead by three on a three-point play from Brittany Taylor with 3:13 remaining in regulation.
On the other end, Tiffani Huffman drained a 3 for the Pioneers before the team traded baskets to leave the score tied at 98 at the end of regulation.
The back-and-forth battle continued in the extra period, with Glenville State taking a five-point lead only to see Ohio Valley come back to go in front for good Taylor's jumper with 1:02 remaining. Autumn Davis missed a trey for the Pioneers, as did Tenisha Wilson, and after Kristen Golden got an offensive board, Wilson missed again from inside the line.
Taylor made two free throws to account for the final margin and nearly had a quadruple-double: 31 points, 13 rebounds, nine assists and 11 of her team's 37 turnovers.
Wilson and Danielle Woodmore led the way for the Pioneers with 23 points apiece, Kim Stephens added 17 points and 10 rebounds and Golden finished with 11 points. Reed, the point guard, had a terrific game, as well, dropping five dimes, grabbing seven boards and collecting seven of Glenville State's 25 steals.
The Pioneers were 38-for-108 from the field and rebounded 24 of their 70 misses (34 percent). The numbers almost were there, and I hate it for Coach Harkleroad and his team. They hope to bounce back this weekend in the Millersville (Pa.) University Tip-Off tournament, facing West Chester on Friday at 4 p.m. EST before going against the host school Saturday , also at 4 p.m. EST.
The best of luck to Glenville State, and I'll be rooting for them.