Section: Sports

Lords’ basketball continues to have late game growing pains

Lords basketball took a disappointing loss to Allegheny College (6-12, 3-8 NCAC) last night, falling 90-73 despite 21 points from Bennett Grigull ’18, after losing to Denison University on Saturday.

On Saturday, the Lords suffered a tough 82-67 defeat at the hands of the Denison University Big Red (16-1, 10-0 NCAC), hanging close to the conference leaders for much of the game before slipping up late. Denison, ranked number 10 overall in the country, jumped out to an early 31-21 lead before a late rally by the Lords cut the deficit to just one point at halftime. The Lords kept within six points of the Big Red for much of the second half, before Denison showed why they are nationally ranked by going on a 19-7 run that effectively sealed the game. Grigull and Ethan Shapiro ’17 led the way with 12 points each, and Alexander Powell ’18 and Ben Stern ’20 each scored in double digits off the bench.

The Lords are now 4-14 overall and 3-8 in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) standings, placing them eighth in the conference. The team’s trend of poor second halves continued on Wednesday, as the Lords were only behind by three points at halftime against Allegheny, before the Gators got into an offensive rhythm and outscored them 51-37 in the second half. They have won two of their last ten games, but Head Coach Dan Priest believes the team has played much better than their record indicates. “We’ve had some trouble closing out games, games that we really could have won,” Priest said on Tuesday. “We’re a pretty young team with a lot of freshman and only one senior who is healthy right now.”

Seven of the Lords’ 14 losses have been by less than 10 points, and they have all the markings of a young team. The Lords have played very well at home in Gambier with a record of 4-3, but the team is 0-11 everywhere else.  Priest however, is proud of how his team has stuck together despite some discouraging losses and inconsistency. “Losing those tough games can be hard, but we’ve had some great resiliency” Priest said. “But their camaraderie and chemistry and willingness to stick together and support each other is now starting to pay some dividends.”

Guard Matt Shifrin ’19 moves his feet to stop a driving Big Red player.

The team’s play is trending in the right direction. The Lords won two conference games against Oberlin College and Hiram College on Jan. 11 and 14, and stuck with a nationally ranjed Denison team. Five of their final seven games will come against teams with .500 or worse records, giving the Lords a real chance to move up the standings as the season nears its conclusion with the NCAC tournament.

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