With a chance to impress Lawrence’s basketball alumni, the Vikings succeeded with a win against Grinnell in men’s and women’s basketball.
Men’s basketball began first on Saturday, and the tempo was set early on; despite the Pioneers managing a 25-17 lead to begin the game, a 15-5 stretch by the Vikings secured a solid 12-point lead midway through the first period. This would be the very last time Grinnell held a lead for the rest of the game, as six of eight Lawrence players to touch the floor scored over 20 points, with junior Bryce Denham leading the team with 28. Sophomore guard Brandon Danowski barely missed a triple-double with a 10-18-9 finish, and by the end of the first half, the Vikings held strong and kept a 60-46 lead. Coming out of halftime, Grinnell gave the Vikings a scare by cutting the lead 60-56, but the Vikings refused to let them keep the game close, making a few quick runs and settling back at 75-58.
The Pioneers were unable to make any lasting pushes, and despite their short bursts of scoring, the Vikings came out on top 118-106. Key to the victory was Lawrence’s dominance in the paint, as they sliced up Grinnell’s interior defense to the tune of 78 points. Major advantages in rebounds (46 to 33), assists (38 to 24) and fastbreak points (32 to 6) exemplified the Vikings’ dominance in the matchup. The win put the team at 8-7, with a conference record of an even 4-4.
The women’s matchup ended just as favorably, closing the Pioneers out by the end of the third quarter. Their stellar defense (0-9 from the field) that included four forced turnovers held Grinnell without a single point for just about seven minutes, and between good shooting at the line and multiple three-point shots made consecutively by freshman KJ Davis and senior Grace Minogue, Lawrence went from a four-point deficit to lead 52-37, and the Pioneers simply could not recover.
The win featured a double-double from Lawrence’s star forward junior Kenya Earl, who scored 19 points and collected 15 rebounds. The statement win by the Vikings raised their record to 5-10, and their conference record to 2-6. They will need to carry this energy forward, as their next two opponents (Knox and Beloit) will face them in away games, where their record is 0-6.