Grinnell College’s Griffin Lentsch ’13 erupted for 89 points, an NCAA Division III national record, as the Pioneer men's basketball team sailed past Principia College 145-97 Saturday afternoon in Elsah, Ill.
Lentsch’s scoring output surpassed the previous D-III mark of 77 points set by former Grinnell star Jeff Clement ’99 in 1998.
Lentsch’s total is third all-time in all of NCAA, placing only behind the 112-point production by Clarence “Bevo” Francis of Rio Grande in 1954 and the 100-point output by Frank Selvy of Furman, also in 1954.
Lentsch finished 27-of-55 from the field, including 15-of-33 from 3-point land. The 15 treys rank ninth-best in all of NCAA. He was also an amazing 20-of-22 from the free-throw line, with the made number of free throws a Grinnell record.
“We knew Griffin had a chance to put up big numbers, but something like this is simply amazing,” said Grinnell assistant coach David N. Arseneault, who will serve as the team’s interim head coach during second semester. “But it really was an entire team effort. The guys contributed in terms of setting screens and getting him the ball. It was incredible to watch. As Griffin scored more and more points, our bench got louder and louder.”
Lentsch, who had 40 points at halftime, is still in awe of the record. “It’s still setting in,” he said. “I didn’t think I would ever score that many points.”
Lentsch said he wasn’t necessarily shooting well early on. “I was trying some 3s, but some of them weren’t dropping so I started driving to the basket,” he explained. “I figured if I could get some easier shots and also get to the free-throw line, that would help me reset and get my shooting touch and confidence back.”
Lentsch was quick to credit others for his record, though. “All the credit goes to my teammates, in all honesty,” he said. “They did such a great job of setting screens and getting me open. I never would have come remotely close to doing this without them.”
Patrick Maher ’14 and Jack Adams ’13 had 10 points each for Grinnell. Maher also dished out 13 assists and recorded six steals. Joe Rogers ’13, Dominique Bellamy ’13 and Brian McManamy ’13 had five rebounds each.
Grinnell led by just four points at 16-12 before going on a 13-4 run to break open the game. Lentsch had eight points during the spurt, including a pair of treys, while Matt Skelly ’12 had a 3-pointer and Adams a basket.
Grinnell led 75-50 at halftime and never looked back. Lentsch tied the D-III mark of 77 points with a free throw at the 4:37 mark, and broke it with another charity shot at the 4:06 mark.
Grinnell is now 1-0, while Principia fell to 0-1. The Pioneers entertain Wartburg College Tuesday, Nov. 22, at Darby Gymnasium. Game time is 7 p.m. The women's game against Wartburg starts at 5 p.m.
Griffin Lentsch's Feat Discussed on The Dan Patrick Show on 11/21/11 (located at about two-thirds of the way through the hour-long file)