Sparked by a balanced scoring attack, the Grinnell College men’s basketball team shook off a slow start to knock off Monmouth College 87-75 Wednesday night at Darby Gymnasium.
The Pioneers trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half before whittling the gap to 44-41 by intermission. The hosts then outscored Monmouth 46-31 in the second half to improve to 13-3 in the Midwest Conference and 17-3 overall.
Jesse Ney ’13, who was 4-of-9 from 3-point land, and Griffin Lentsch ’13 each led Grinnell with 16 points. Patrick Maher ’14 added 12 points and six assists, Luke Yeager ’15 also had 12 points and Jack Adams tallied 10 points to go along with six rebounds and two blocks.
Marques Valdez ’13 and Joe Rogers ’13 had four and three steals, respectively.
Kendall Cox had a game-high 18 points for the Fighting Scots, who fell to 3-12 in the league and 5-15 in all games.
After falling behind 38-25, Grinnell went on a 16-6 run to close out the half. Ney had five points in that span, Maher, Yeager and Xander Strek ’12 scored three apiece and Lentsch two.
Grinnell took a lead early in the second half before Monmouth tied things at 50-all. The Pioneers then went on a key 8-0 run, as Tague Zachary ’15 drained a 3-pointer, Ney scored on a layup and Strek drained a trey to make it 58-50 with 14:46 left.
Later, up by just five, the Pioneers put a dagger through the Fighting Scots with 15 unanswered points. Ney began things with a pair of 3-pointers, Dominique Bellamy ’13 added a trey, Maher hit two close-range shots and Lentsch made a layup to stretch the Pioneers’ lead to 82-62 with 6:52 left.
Monmouth never got closer than the final margin of 12 after that.
Grinnell is on the road this weekend to face Illinois College. Game time in Jacksonville, Ill., is 3 p.m.