Grace defeats #4 Kuyper, Retains Cross Cup
Grand Rapids, MI – Grace traveled across town to Kuyper College tonight, entering into a very tough road atmosphere which yielded not one open seat in the stands. Kuyper has won their last two games at home, both against teams ranked in the NCCAA.
The Cougars fed off of the atmosphere for the first 7:00 of the game, and took a quick 18-7 lead to start the game. Grace then put together a run of their own, scoring 12 straight to take their first lead of the game at 19-18. Sophomore Paul TenHarmsel provided a much needed spark off the bench for Grace at this time, with a huge trio of three-point shots over a span of a couple minutes. The Tigers were able to extend their lead to as much as eight with 4:00 remaining in the first half, and entered into the half with a 48-42 lead.
The second half started off with a spectacular drop-step dunk by junior Cameron Cramer, but a quick Cougar run thereafter would result in the Tigers falling behind 55-57 just four minutes into the half. Grace would immediately gain control of the lead again, after a huge 3-point shot from senior Nick Mascorro halted the Kuyper run and put Grace up 58-57. The Tigers would keep the lead for the next 10 minutes of the game, when the Cougars started to put together yet another run that would put Grace down 77-81. After a Kuyper steal, it looked as if the Cougars were going to outlet the ball and get a quick lay-up to put the Tigers down 6 with less than 4:00 left in the game. TenHarmsel was able to sprint back and pick off the pass, and subsequently hit two free throws to cut the game to two points. This kicked off a late run including a highlight-worthy behind the back move and finish from Mascorro, a huge three-point shot from junior Jake Blauwkamp, and a deep jump shot from junior Brad Rosenzweig would ultimately help the Tigers prevail in the end by the score of 92-84.
“This was such an awesome game. This is a very tough place to play and our kids responded well. We are playing well right now with a lot of confidence. This is the fun part of the season,” said head coach Gary Bailey after the big win.
The Tiger bench was a huge contributor in the win, outscoring the Cougar bench 39-25. For the third time in the last four games, six Tigers ended up scoring in double-figures, led by junior Travis Rader with 17 points. Freshman Jared Bradford and Cramer both added 15. Bradford also led the Tigers with 8 rebounds and 6 assists on the night.
Grace moves to .500 after the win, sitting at 12-12 on the year. They will return to the floor next Tuesday, where they will face an improved Great Lakes Christian College team in Lansing, Michigan.