The Lawrence men’s basketball team traveled to Grinnell on Saturday, Feb. 22 hoping to finish their season on a strong note. The Vikings went into the game on a four-game winning streak and looked to complete a season sweep of Grinnell College. The Vikings crushed Grinnell and their fast paced offense 111-94 in their first meeting on Saturday, Jan. 18 at Alexander Gymnasium.
Unfortunately for the Vikings, this game did not have any impact on the Midwest Conference tournament. Lawrence was eliminated from contention due to wins by both Grinnell College and Carroll University earlier in the week. The Vikings also had to play without senior point guard Brian Gryszkiewicz who was out due to a leg injury he suffered last week versus Cornell.
When asked how they motivated themselves for this game, sophomore Trace Sonnleitner said, “With all the national attention Grinnell’s been getting, we’re always motivated to beat them, no matter where we are in the standings.”
The teams traded baskets early on, but Grinnell used a 16-4 run in the middle of the first half to take control of the action. The Pioneers caught fire in the first half and buried 17 three-pointers while shooting 47 percent from beyond the arc. This hot shooting gave Grinnell a 68-62 lead going into the half.
Grinnell kept control of the game in the second half, leading by as many as 17 points. The Vikings made a late run and cut the lead to nine points with five minutes left in the game, but could not get any closer than that. Grinnell won the game by a final score of 122-111.
“They’re tough to beat at home, and they got off to a hot shooting start which sparked them for the rest of the game,” commented Sonnleitner.
Lawrence was led by junior Ryan Depouw who continued to play well after earning Conference Player of the Week honors the previous week. He finished with 26 points and eight rebounds. Senior Tyler Mazur also contributed 24 points and six rebounds. Patrick Maher paced Grinnell with 26 points, while Jack Taylor added 24 of his own.
Lawrence finished the season 12-11 overall and 10-8 in Midwest Conference play.
“Of course we wish we made the tournament, but it was great playing with this senior class. We’re already looking forward to getting back at it next [season] and seeing what we can do,” added Sonnleitner.
The Vikings graduate eight seniors this year, including three starters, but still have a lot of players with experience returning next year.
“The memories made with the team this season will last a lifetime,” finished Sonnleitner.