Now off to its best start in school history, the Grinnell College men’s basketball team geared up for its biggest game of the campaign with a 102-90 come-from-behind victory at Monmouth College Wednesday night.
The Pioneers are now a program-best 14-1 on the season while improving to 10-1 in the Midwest Conference. They’ll take that mark into Saturday afternoon’s contest at Lake Forest College, a team that is 11-0 in the league.
Griffin Lentsch ‘13 led Grinnell with 30 points, hitting 5-of-12 from 3-point land. Also in double figures for the Pioneers were Patrick Maher ‘14 with 16 points and Matt Chalupa ‘12 with 10.
Maher had six assists and a pair of steals, while Dominique Bellamy ‘13 added five rebounds and three steals.
Three players had 14 points each for the Fighting Scots, who fell to 5-11 overall and 3-8 in the league.
Grinnell got out to a 13-point lead in the first half when Jesse Ney ‘13 hit a 3-pointer to make it 21-8 with 12:26 left. However, the hosts rallied and led 47-45 at halftime.
Monmouth pushed its lead to eight early in the second half, but the Pioneers chipped away and grabbed a 64-63 edge on a jumper by Marques Valdez ‘13 with 12:38 left.
The Fighting Scots grabbed their final lead at the 12:25 mark when they made it 65-64. That’s when Grinnell answered with a big 10-point run to take command for good.
Dylan Bartuch ‘15 began things with a layup, Maher made a jumper and Xander Strek ‘12 drained a 3-pointer to make it 71-65. Lentsch followed with another trey to make it 74-65 at the 10:25 mark.
Monmouth never got closer than seven points the rest of the way.
Grinnell’s game at Lake Forest on Saturday begins at 3 p.m.