Grace takes down No. 1 USF in ranked battle
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s men’s basketball team continued its perfect start to the season with a statement win on Wednesday.
The No. 13-ranked Lancers (10-0, 3-0 Crossroads League) took down No. 1 St. Francis in convincing fashion by the score of 83-69.
Frankie Davidson was the star. The forward dazzled his way to 35 points, his third straight game with at least 30 points. He was unstoppable using a variety of post-ups and fadeaways, and he accentuated his night with a few highlight-reel dunks.
Grace’s defense locked up the previously unbeaten Cougars (10-1, 2-1 CL). USF was held to 33 percent shooting, and lost the rebounding battle 48-30.
The Lancers shot 52 percent overall from the floor — an impressive number as Grace was just 3 of 17 (18 percent) on 3-pointers.
Grace’s size and strength gave USF issues all evening, and the Lancers outscored the Cougars 46-22 in the paint.
The first half was a master class from Grace. The Lancers led from the first possession and never lost the lead.
Grace scored on its first five possessions, including six early points from Elijah Malone. Back-to-back jumpers from Davidson gave Grace a 14-3 advantage after six minutes of play.
The Lancers refused to slow down. Grace built its lead up to 19 by the midway point of the first half.
Grace’s defense gave USF no breathing room as the first half concluded. USF was held to just four points for a stretch of 7:02, and Grace had no plans to stop scoring.
The Lancers opened up a massive 31-point lead at 49-18 late in the first half. Grace went into halftime comfortably ahead 49-23.
Davidson (19 points) nearly outscored USF (23 points) by himself in the opening half. Grace shot 62 percent from the floor compared to 26 percent for USF.
After three minutes of play in the second half, Grace still led by 30.
But USF showed its mettle and did its best to rally. The Cougars went on a 15-1 surge to pull within 61-45 with 11:43 on the clock.
The teams traded points over the next several minutes, and USF had one final push remaining. The Cougars managed to trim Grace’s lead down to 11, but the Lancers found timely baskets from Davidson, Jake Wadding and Eddie Gill IV down the stretch. Grace cruised to the final 14-point margin of victory.
Davidson shot 15 of 22 from the floor, adding 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block with just a single turnover.
Malone had a double-double with 12 points, 12 boards and 3 blocked shots, and Wadding added 11 points, 7 boards and 3 assists.
Gill produced nine points and eight rebounds, Ian Scott tallied 7 points, 7 boards and 3 assists, and Brett Sickafoose chipped in five points off the bench.
The Lancers’ big week continues with a road trip to archrival Bethel. Grace and the Pilots will square off at 3 p.m. in Mishawaka.
Grace is currently enjoying its best start to the season (10-0) since the 1991-92 season.