Many non-Division I programs start their conference schedules very early, and the NCAA Division III men's team at Grinnell is no exception. The Pioneers traveled to Illinois College on Saturday to open play in the Midwest Conference, and the early going wasn't very kind to America's Team (yes, that is Grinnell).
The Blueboys (great mascot!) jumped out to an 18-point lead about midway through the first half, but fortunately for us, Coach David Arseneault's team rallied. Jack Taylor scored 30 points and Patrick Maher had 10 of his 29 points in a span about about a minute late in the second half, helping Grinnell beat Illinois College 132-126.
Luke Yeager added 26 points for the Pioneers (4-0, 1-0 MWC). He, Taylor and Maher each had a team-high four assists, as well.
Maher's personal run started with the Blueboys leading 107-102 with about 4 minutes remaining in the game. The senior from Park Ridge, Ill., worked his way inside for a layup while getting a fouled, then completed the and-1 to cut the deficit to two points. Maher then tied the score with another hoop from the paint, then matched a 3 from Illinois College's Zeke Light to make it 110-110.
After Chris Marrs scored for the Blueboys, Maher did it again to tie the score for the final time at 112. Yeager made a three throw and a jumper from beyond the arc to give the Pioneers a four-point advantage, and Illinois College never recovered.
Grinnell is off for a week before traveling to conference rival Beloit College next Saturday. Game time is scheduled for 2 p.m., EST.