The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Men’s Basketball tramples Lindenwood in season-opener

Walking off the court of Darby Gymnasium following Tuesday’s 120-90 season-opening drubbing of Lindenwood University-Bellville, head coach David Arseneault bore a content grin. A win was all he had hoped for, but his team had given him much more.

Men's Basketball
Photography by Andrew Kelley

“We’re further along defensively than offensively, which may sound a bit funny after you put up 120 points,” Arseneault said. “But all three groups really sustained the defensive effort, and offensively two of the three groups were dysfunctional.”

Dysfunctional enough to land 120 points and 104 shots—gaudy stats for any team, let alone one claiming to be a bit rusty offensively. But this is Grinnell, where “the system” is king, and 120 points cannot guarantee a victory.

“I got high expectations,” Arseneault said. “Group one had Griffin Lentsch [‘13] get it going in the second half, and when he’s shooting like that it’s fun to watch. Group two has a lot of offensive talent, and it’s just not meshing right now, so we have to look at some film and try to help them out a little bit.”

Lentsch led the Pioneers Tuesday night with 36 points, off 10-21 shooting from three-point range. Especially in the second half, Lentsch took over the game with his shooting.

“It’s unbelievable,” said point guard Matt Chalupa ’12. “I think for the first time in his career, Griffin Lentsch just turned on. When that happens everyone just starts playing that much harder. You start looking for the open guy. It all kind of snowballs. I think at the same time, the other team starts getting down.”

While Lentsch carried the load for the Pioneers on Tuesday, the team may need to rely on defense to win.

Defense led to offense multiple times on Tuesday night, as the Pioneers forced 40 turnovers against a solid Lindenwood squad.

“It really all stems from turnovers, I think, because the defense is out of position, and it opens up some available shots,” said forward Alex McDonald ’11. “You can’t really argue with 40 turnovers. It was a really good game. I thought our intensity was very good, and if we can keep that up throughout the season, we’ll be very successful.”

The Pioneers have two more games before opening conference play away against St. Norbert College on Dec. 3. “Obviously you have to pick St. Norbert to be the favorite [in the conference], because they’re returning their best players, and they’re a very solid group,” McDonald said. “We certainly see ourselves in the mix as a dark horse to make a run at it and certainly in the mix to make the conference playoffs.”

Arseneault has a similar assessment of St. Norbert. “My thought is that maybe this year St. Norbert, with five returning starters from a 25-4 team, might have a little bit of an edge on people,” he said. “But I wouldn’t be surprised [to win the conference] because truthfully, this is the best defense that’s been played here since we started running the system.”

All the emphasis on defense may come as some surprise to those familiar with the Grinnell System, but Arseneault is not about to change his philosophy.

“It’s a different group,” he said. “We can achieve our statistical numbers in a slightly different way this year.”

Central to the logic behind the system are five key statistical targets, that, when met, all but assure victory. Each game Arseneault and his son, Assistant Coach David Arseneault Jr. ’08, ask their team to put up 94 shots, including at least half from three-point land, force 32 turnovers, rebound half of its misses and out-shoot the opponent by at least 25.

The numbers may seem odd, but in fact, they are the result of scientific research.

“We actually had some students do an independent research project on it and just poured over box scores from the past, and did statistical analysis to figure out the numbers it took for us to win,” Arseneault Jr. said. “97 percent of the time we achieve those goals, we win.”

The team met all five of the goals Tuesday. The Pioneers face Buena Vista University Monday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *