In the second-to-last game of head coach Jim Kessler‘s career, Grace College’s men’s basketball team cruised to an 89-61 win over Nebraska Christian on Thursday morning.
Grace placed five players in double figures, led by a season-best 20 points from Jaret Sons to go along with eight boards and two assists.
Grace’s final game of the season will be the fifth-place game of the NCCAA National Championships on Friday at 5 p.m. against Columbia International. The game will also mark the final time Kessler will direct the Lancers from the sidelines, wrapping up his 42-year career coaching Grace.
The Lancers (17-16) were sharp defensively against NCC. Grace held NCC to just 29 percent shooting compared to 53 percent shooting by the Lancers.
Grace’s defense was suffocating from the opening tipoff. The Sentinels mustered just two points for the first 6:05 of action.
Logan Godfrey helped Grace’s attack get started with five quick points, and a 3-pointer from Sons lifted the Lancers to a 23-6 advantage.
The Lancers’ offense was hard to stop in the first half. Grace made 14 of its first 19 shots (74 percent), pulling away to a 51-26 lead at halftime.
Charlie Warner scored a team-high 12 points in the half, and Sons added 10 points in 10 minutes. Grace shot a sizzling 65 percent from the floor before halftime compared to 28 percent for the Sentinels.
The Lancers utilized their bench freely after that point, and Grace’s cushion hovered near 30 for the rest of regulation. Grace enjoyed 47 points from its bench, and nine players overall scored a point.
Deaton produced 15 points, 5 assists and 3 boards in 20 minutes, Godfrey added 11 points, 8 boards and 3 assists in 15 minutes, and Schiele scored 13 points with three assists.
Warner finished with 12 points and five rebounds, and Cody Holmes added 6 points, 9 boards and 2 blocked shots.