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The Scarlet & Black

Men’s basketball rides winning streak

Tague Zachary ’15 attempts a contested shot against Lake Forest College last Saturday. Photo by John Brady.

After dropping its first two games against Midwest Conference (MWC) opponents, the men’s basketball team strung together three straight wins this past week. On Saturday afternoon, the Pioneers earned their first MWC victory of the season with a 130-116 win over Lake Forest College .

On Sunday, the Pioneers defeated Presentation College 133-119 and on Wednesday Cornell College 127-73. After this series of victories, Grinnell finds itself with a 4-3 overall record and 2-2 in MWC.

“We came out with energy we didn’t have in previous games,” said Nick Curta ’17.

After initially trailing Lake Forest 23-22, Grinnell came back to take a huge 78-50 halftime lead. In the second half, the Pioneers continued to cruise to eventually claim the victory.

Tague Zachary ’15 attempts a contested shot against Lake Forest College last Saturday. Photo by John Brady.
Tague Zachary ’15 attempts a contested shot against Lake Forest College last Saturday. Photo by John Brady.

“We played hard and we played together and showed how we are capable of playing,” said Julian Marx ’17.

Coming off consecutive losses to Beloit College and Monmouth College, the players felt these losses helped with their subsequent victories.

“The speed we were playing at [in the losses] wasn’t at the championship level and wasn’t at the level we needed to be at,” Curta said. “And before coming out versus Lake Forest, coach got the message across that we needed to step it up and we were ready to go.”

On Sunday afternoon against Presentation, the team had five players score in double figures to clinch the victory. The Pioneers played a scrappy game, with Tague Zachary ’15 tallying seven rebounds and four blocks and Marx tallying two steals.

“Julian Marx was a key for us this past weekend,” wrote head coach David Arseneault in an email to The S&B. “He was great versus zones both last year and this, but on Sunday he was statistically significant against a man-to-man defense and we really need this from him.”

After halftime, Grinnell was ahead 78-57. According to Marx, the team’s playing level was unbeatable.

“We just built on what we did on Saturday,” Marx said. “We played hard and made a lot of unselfish passes and pretty much everybody had it going.”

Presentation came back in the second half, cutting Grinnell’s lead to four points before Taylor made a three-pointer with 7:06 left to put the Pioneers up 118-103, and sailed away with a victory.

Arseneault was impressed with the way in which the first-years played over the weekend.

“This past weekend was the first time that our first-years collectively played at the correct pace of play,” Arseneault wrote. “Sometimes it just takes a while for them to understand what maximal effort means.”

On Wednesday evening, Grinnell continued its momentum with a dominating performance over Cornell. 

“We started off shooting the ball really well,” Curta said. “We were energized and hitting the glass and came out with the mindset that this was a must-win for us to stay in the Conference race.”

The Pioneers will go on the road to face St. Norbert College, the defending MWC champion, in De Pere, Wis. at 3 p.m.

“They’re a good team but we are playing really well,” Marx said. “We expect to go out there and get the win.”

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