The Tigers played another game against an NCCAA II Top Ten team without starting big men Ryan Dame and Ryan Krombeen. There was no doubt the Tigers missed the two, both out with leg/ankle injuries, but they were able to play well enough to defeat the #10 Clearwater Christian Cougars for their 66th consecutive NCCAA II win. “We always have to keep the big picture in mind,” said Coach Gary Bailey. “Winning or losing one game during the regular season, or even the final scoring margin of a win, is not as important as the long term health of these two guys and having them ready at the end of the year. They will play when they are healthy enough to play.”
It was the Schutte brothers who gave the Tigers another big boost tonight. Zach Schutte (Calvin Christian) had 16 points and led the Tigers with 8 rebounds. Aaron Schutte (Sioux Center HS, IA) had 13 points as the two brothers were a combined 12 for 20 from the field. Senior captains Matt Kurtz (Lowell) and Cory Jamieson (Wayland) also stepped up big. Kurtz led the Tigers in scoring with 17 points, including 6 of 7 from the free throw line. Jamieson added 12 points and a game high 9 assists.
The Tigers trailed for a good portion of the first half but they took a 46-40 lead at the half on junior Greg Salmon’s (Wayland) three pointer with one second left. “I wasn’t especially pleased with the way we played at times tonight but I was pleased with our effort,” noted Bailey. “We practice with different combinations of lineups for occasions like this. We were happy to get the win.”
Grace will play tournament host, and #5 ranked, Florida Christian College, Friday evening at 8 PM. The game will again be announced on the web by Rick Cooper. To listen with Media Player – click here - http://azulweb.streamguys.com/ohiochristian.asx) To listen with all others – click here - http://war.str3am.com:7570/listen.pls