In a battle of the league’s best, the Grinnell College men’s basketball team emerged victorious Saturday afternoon by winning 98-92 at Lake Forest College.
The victory extended Grinnell’s best start in school history to 15-1 as the Pioneers moved into a first-place tie with the Foresters in the Midwest Conference standings at 11-1.
Luke Yeager ’15 scored a team-high 16 points for the winners, Griffin Lentsch ’13 tallied 14, Patrick Maher ’14 poured in 13 and Brian McManamy ’13 had 10.
Maher also had three assists and three steals and Matt Chalupa ’12 added three assists and two steals.
Travis Clark led Lake Forest, 15-2 overall and 11-1 in the MWC, with 19 points.
Grinnell shot out to a 7-0 lead, only to see Lake Forest storm back and go up by five. The Pioneers responded, though, and went up by 10 at 54-44 on a 3-pointer by Matt Skelly ’12 before the hosts whittled the gap to 56-51 by halftime.
Grinnell gradually stretched its lead in the second half and was up 77-65 before going on a big 8-2 run. Evan Johnson ’15 led things off with a 3-pointer, Yeager had a basket during the span, Maher sank two free throws and Joe Rogers ’13 added a charity shot to put the Pioneers up 85-67 at the 9:39 mark.
Lake Forest roared back, though, and eventually came within three when a 3-pointer by Nate Bateman made it 89-86 with 2:01 left.
However, McManamy counted with a 3-pointer as Grinnell withstood a few more Lake Forest runs. The Foresters were still within three as James Stack’s 3-pointer made it 95-92 with :14 left. However, Maher sank a trio of free throws down the stretch to ice the win.
The Pioneers return home Tuesday to host Knox College at Darby Gymnasium. Game time is 7 p.m.