The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Men’s basketball wins three, drops two

Jack Taylor ’15 dribbles past an opposing player in November. Photo by John Brady

The last week of winter break, while many Grinnellians were at home relaxing, members of Grinnell’s men’s basketball team were busy getting their season underway. Starting off strong, the Pioneers won three games in a row versus Lawrence University on Jan. 3, Ripon College on Jan. 10 and Knox College on Jan. 13. 

During these first three games, which the Pioneers won respectively 126-116, 112-96 and 111-91, members of the team engaged in all-around solid basketball. 

“Everyone was sharing the ball. Our shooters were shooting. Our role players were doing their job. We came out with some determination in the new year and put some runs together in those games,” said Nick Curta ’17 who scored 10 points while shooting 71 percent in the win over Knox. 

Kyle Parker ’17, who scored 15 points versus Ripon, praised Grinnell’s defense in the three wins, as it neutralized the opposition’s key players. 

“We decided that we were going to stop their best players,” Parker said. “And we did that pretty successfully in those games.”

Head coach David Arseneault gives credit to first-years in the wins. In the victory versus Lawrence, Braedon Bayer ’18 scored 18 points and shot 67 percent while Ikaika Phillip ’18 scored 15 points  while shooting at 63 percent.

“Several of the first-years started playing with more poise. That first-year class has some talent and it was just a matter of time before a few of them started figuring some things out,” Arseneault wrote in an email to The S&B.

On Saturday, Jan. 17, the Pioneers came back to force overtime versus Carroll University before falling 131-139 in Waukesha, Wisonsin.

Down 95-81 with 8:44 left, Grinnell chipped away at the lead with big performances by Jack Taylor ’15, who scored 41 points, and Luke Yeager ’15, who scored 28.

“Coach made it clear to us at halftime that we cannot win the game or even come close to winning the game if we continued turning over the ball so much. So we lessened our turnovers the next half and it kept us in the ball game and we started hitting out shots,” Parker said. 

Tague Zachary ’15 tipping off versus Lake Forest earlier in the season. Photo by John Brady
Tague Zachary ’15 tipping off versus Lake Forest earlier in the season.
Photo by John Brady

At the end of regulation there was a 118-all tie forcing overtime. Yeager started off overtime with a layup, but Carroll responded with a seven-point run en route to victory.

“Shots were not falling in overtime and at the end of the game we had some good looks and the game could have gone either way but it just wasn’t our day,” Curta said.

On Wednesday night, the Pioneers traveled to Mount Vernon, Iowa to play Cornell College. Despite enjoying success versus Cornell in the past, the Pioneers lost a hard-fought 116-110 game. 

Taylor scored 37 points, Bayer scored 22 and Tague Zachary ’15 scored 13, but the team overall shot 33 percent, as the Pioneers dropped to 7-8 for the season. 

“We came out sluggish and shots were not falling,” Curta said. “We were getting good looks and personally I could have got some more rebounds.” 

“It was a typical game of live and die by the three,” Parker said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well at all and personally I didn’t step up and score offensively and play defensively as well as I could have.”

Arseneault echoed the disappointment of Parker and Curta, labeling the loss versus Cornell as one of the season’s more disappointing games. 

“Our game last night versus Cornell was particularly disappointing,” Arseneault wrote. “[We] have to do better because we have enough talent to make a run at that fourth playoff spot.”

On Saturday, Grinnell will host Beloit College at 3 p.m. in Darby Gymnasium. 

“Beloit poses us a unique challenge in that they have the quickest point guard in the league and the best finisher against our press,” Arseneault wrote.

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