Commanding Win, Last-Second Victory All In One Weekend
Box Scores: Friday | Saturday
MISHAWAKA, Ind. - The Goshen College men's basketball team jumped to a 16-3 lead in the first five minutes and never looked back as they started the Bethel College Classic with a strong 100-71 victory over Great Lakes Christian College Friday night.
A day later, they finished the tournament with a thrilling 53-52 victory over Aquinas College as junior Nate Manning nailed a 3-pointer with time expiring as the Leafs finished the weekend 2-0.
On Friday, all 11 Maple Leafs to play in the contest entered the scoring column and six different players reached double figures in scoring. Manning led the way with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Manning, along with sophomore Geoffry Gilot and senior Jeremy Pope each hit three 3-pointers.
Goshen shot 53% from the field, while holding Great Lakes Christian to just 35%. Gilot (14), Austin Hefley (14), Pope (13), Seth Kauffman (11), and Simon Szablicki (10) all finished with ten or more points.
In the first half - which saw the Leafs expand their early lead to 32 (59-27) by the break - Goshen shot an outstanding 71% from the field (24-for-34). They also limited Great Lakes to 23% shooting, forced 15 turnovers and grabbed 20 rebounds.
"I liked how we approached the first half Friday night," said fourth-year head coach Gary Chupp. "We emphasized scoring off of our defense and we got a lot of transition baskets. I was also pleased with our ball movement and balanced scoring."
Chupp was not as happy with the final 20 minutes, although the gap was still easily maintained, "The second half got very sloppy, and I don't think our guys stayed sharp playing with such a big lead."
After defeating Aquinas 77-70 in both team's season opener on November 2, the Maple Leafs had a rematch against the Saints in the tournament's finale.
After trailing by four (11-7) five minutes in, Goshen made its run. A quick 8-0 spurt switched the lead in their favor before the defense really hit its stride. The Leafs held the Saints scoreless for a span of 7:45 as they were able to increase their lead to as many as 12. Aquinas managed to hit a couple baskets down the stretch to trail just 21-29 heading into the locker rooms.
"It was similar to the first time we played Aquinas in that I thought we should have been up by more than eight at half," Chupp explained. "We make our free throws and we would have been up by at least 15. The first half was as good as we have been defensively all year."
Goshen hit just 38% from the field and 3-of-10 from the charity stripe in the half, but forced 15 Saint turnovers to pave the way for the halftime advantage.
The lead held until late in the second half. Aquinas knotted the game up at 49-49 and 50-50 before ultimately taking their first lead since early in the first half at 52-50 with just 10 seconds left to play.
For the second time early this year, the Maple Leafs had the ball near the final buzzer with a chance to win the game. This time, they came through with the big shot as Kyle Davis set up Manning.
Pope led Goshen with 11 points, while Kauffman finished with eight and Manning, Steen, Gilot, Szablicki, and Davis all had six.
"If you told me going into the Aquinas game that we would shoot 35% from the field, and go 10-for-24 from the line and win, I would have said you were crazy," added Chupp. "The fact that we ended up winning shooting the ball as poorly as we did is a testament to how good we were on the defensive end."
At 3-3, the Leafs will begin Mid-Central College Conference play Tuesday at Spring Arbor University.