A month ago, the Grinnell College men’s basketball team won a thriller against Illinois College.
But on Saturday afternoon, the Pioneers found themselves on the other end of the spectrum as the Blueboys posted a 144-135 double-overtime decision over Grinnell at Jacksonville, Ill.
Grinnell trailed by as many as 19 early in the second half, but rallied and eventually took a three-point lead. Illinois College came back, though, and was up by three before Jesse Ney ’13 drained a 3-pointer with :32 left to make it 111-all. The hosts then turned the ball over, but a last-second trey by Grinnell was off the mark to force overtime.
The first overtime went back and forth and was tied at 123-all when Griffin Lentsch ’13 made a basket with :38 left. Justin Smith made a pair of free throws for the hosts to tie it at 125 with :30 left, and Grinnell missed two free throw tries with :01 left to force another overtime.
Illinois College scored the first six points of the second overtime before Grinnell rallied within 135-133 on two Dominique Bellamy ’13 free throws with 1:20 left. But the hosts scored the next six points and never looked back to improve to 6-15 overall and 4-12 in the Midwest Conference.
Grinnell, 17-4 in all games and 13-4 in the league, got a game-high 38 points from Lentsch. Luke Yeager ’15 added 23 points and Matt Chalupa ’12 scored 19 points to go along with five assists.
Patrick Maher ’14 grabbed 10 rebounds and Matt Skelly ’12, Evan Johnson ’15, Marques Valdez ’13 and Bellamy all had three steals.
Zeke Light scored 30 points for the hosts.
Illinois College led 64-50 at halftime and extended the cushion to 70-51 with 18:12 left in the game.
Grinnell gradually came back and was within 10 before scoring seven straight points. Bellamy had a layup, Skelly sank two free throws and Lentsch hit a trey to make it an 87-84 game with 9:18 left.
With Illinois College ahead 103-97 with 4:48 left, Lentsch made back-to-back 3-pointers to tie it, Skelly scored on a layup and Chalupa sank a free throw for a three-point Grinnell lead. From there the teams went back and forth to send the contest into overtime.
The Pioneers close out the regular season next Saturday when Lake Forest College visits Darby Gymnasium. Game time is 3 p.m.