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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Pioneers try to get back on their feet

The Grinnell Men’s Basketball team won against non-conference foe Fontbonne University, 121-98, last Sunday at Darby Gymnasium, tying their highest mark for most points in a single game this season—the team scored 121 points in a non-conference victory over Aurora University back on Nov. 27. It was just the sixth game the team has scored over 100 points this season. With this win, the team moves to an overall record of 5-12 but remains 3-7 in the Midwest Conference.

“I thought we were more aggressive offensively than we have been at other points this year,” wrote Head Coach David Arsenault in an e-mail.

Forward Matt Skelly ’12 attributes their success and aggressiveness to a total game effort on both offense and defense.
“We were able to get them to turn the ball over which led to a faster pace of play and more opportunities for us offensively,” Skelly said.

Dylan Seelman ’13 led the team with 29 points, and Skelly was close behind him with 28. Matt Chalupa ’12 contributed 12 points, while Dominique Bellamy ’13 scored 11 and Scott Kaitz ’11 had eight assists and five rebounds. The team looks to continue their aggressive offensive play this weekend as they face Ripon College on Friday and Beloit College on Saturday, both away games. Two months ago, the Pioneers lost to both schools at home, and are looking to avenge those losses this weekend.

“We are definitely excited to face Beloit this next weekend because we feel we let one slip away when we lost to them by one the first time,” said Kaitz, who is the point guard and one of the co-captains for the team.

The Pioneers, 0-9 on the road, are also looking for their first win away from home this season, and are optimistic they will find it this weekend.

“Ripon and Beloit will be tough tests this weekend, but if we play up to our capabilities, then there’s no doubt we can win both,” said Griffin Lentsch ’13, the leading scorer for the team, and the first freshman to do so since John Grotberg ’09 accomplished the feat in the ’05-’06 season.

The young team also looks forward to testing themselves amongst other conference teams—teams that know the “system”—with their last six games all against Midwest Conference foes.

“We haven’t won on the road all year so the games this weekend will test our maturity. We are eager for the opportunity to go up north and prove we can win on the road,” Skelly said.

“System” basketball, a strategy that Coach Arsenault has perfected and utilized over the years, depends not only on the team’s ability to shoot accurately, but also to shoot and score quickly to generate an insurmountable point total. In the six seasons prior, the Pioneers did not average less than 108 points per game, and typically led the nation in points scored per game in any of the three NCAA divisions. This season, they are averaging 92 points over a total of 17 games so far with just six games left on their regular season schedule.

“We have been a different team than past years and because of that we might not average over 100,” Kaitz said. “There have been games where we have pulled back in order to save our legs and that has resulted in fewer points scored. At times our offense has looked great. If we can become more consistent offensively, we will begin to see the higher point totals we have seen in past years.”

So, will the Grinnell Men’s Basketball team average over 100 points at the end of this season?
Coach Arsenault says, “We would have to go on a real tear to average 100 points a game this year. I just don’t see that happening.”

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