Men’s BB blown past by Grinnell, outplays Monmouth

Greg Peterson

Coming off their first conference loss of the season, the Lawrence University men’s basketball team traveled to Grinnell, Iowa to face the uniquely up-tempo Pioneer offense, falling in a 104-95 shootout. The Vikings then broke their two-game losing streak by beating Monmouth College 75-67.
In their Friday game against Grinnell (8-5, 3-5 MWC), the Vikings were faced with the “fun-and-gun” system of Pioneers coach David Arseneault. Grinnell, subbing in five new players every 90 seconds in a hockey-style line change, played 18 players a maximum of 15 minutes each, taking 52 three-pointers over the course of the game.
Faced with the aggressive press of Grinnell’s defense, Lawrence (7-6, 6-2 MWC) shot 56.5 percent and grabbed a season-high 46 rebounds, but also reached season highs with 30 fouls and 23 turnovers.
The game started quickly and stayed quick until the end – 10 minutes into the game, the Vikings trailed 27-25, a score similar to the 29-27 halftime score of their game against Lake Forest earlier in the season. By halftime, Lawrence had scored 44 points, their second-highest halftime score of the season, but trailed by 15 points nevertheless.
That 15-point halftime gap would never be closed, despite the 27 points and career-high 18 rebounds by senior forward Erik Borresen. The Vikings were hurt by their relative lack of depth – despite eight points in 24 minutes from freshman Brian Gryszkiewicz, the margin in bench points was 58-13 in favor of Grinnell.
By the time the dust settled, the Pioneers had run to a 104-95 win. Grinnell’s 104 points marked a season high in points allowed for the Vikings, whose 95 points were their best effort since their Dec. 3 100-79 defeat of Illinois College.
With their five-game conference win streak now snapped with a two-game losing streak, Lawrence then traveled to Monmouth, Ill. to face the Fighting Scots of Monmouth College.
However, the Vikings’ frustration after the Grinnell game expressed itself against Monmouth, with the Vikings’ seniors playing strongly and refusing to lose a third consecutive game.
Senior guard Jon Mays, who had fouled out against Grinnell after committing nine turnovers, went off for a career-high 27 points on 63.2 percent shooting as he led his team to a 43-38 halftime lead. The game stayed close, with Monmouth holding on to a 66-65 lead with 5:48 left to play, but the Vikings pulled away thanks to another of their seniors.
In the last three minutes of the game alone, Borresen grabbed five rebounds as he forced the Fighting Scots to foul in an attempt to stop the clock. Lawrence converted its free throws as Monmouth missed a series of quick jumpers, and the Vikings were able to run out the clock to earn a 75-67 victory.
In the winning effort, Borresen had only eight points but had a career-high 18 rebounds for the second consecutive game. Borresen and Mays were joined in double figures by the 17 points of Chris Siebert and the 13 points – including three baskets from long range – by Tyler Crisman.
Now sitting just a half-game behind first-place St. Norbert, the Vikings next head home for a four-game stretch played at Alexander Gym. This weekend’s games – one against cellar dweller Knox and a rematch against Grinnell – will serve as a warmup for a home showdown with St. Norbert Jan. 26 at 7 p.m.