Grace gave Coach Gary Bailey the focused effort he demanded at halftime of Tuesday night’s contest against #3 Ohio Christian University and overcame a turnover plagued first half to extend their NCCAA II winning streak to 69 consecutive games. The Tigers had 14 first half turnovers and trailed the Trailblazers 36-35 at the half. Bailey was happy with the team’s first half effort, but not their focus. “Our turnovers were mostly caused by lack of focus, not pressure. It was important to clean it up in the second half.”
Junior Zach Schutte (Calvin Christian) and junior Ryan Dame (Wayland) stepped up big for the Tigers. Schutte shot 10/16 from the field including 2/2 from beyond the arc, hauled in 7 rebounds to go with his game high 23 points, and had two huge blocked shots in an outstanding defensive effort down the stretch. “Ryan Dame may have played his best game as a Tiger,” said Coach Bailey, “and we really needed it tonight. He gave us 100% effort the entire time he was in there.” Dame also had a big block down the stretch but it was his second effort baskets, and his hustle and defensive effort for the entire game that played a huge role in the Tiger win. The junior finished with 8 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Not overlooked in the win over the #3 team in the country was the extension of that NCCAA II winning streak. The last Tiger loss to an NCCAA II team was March 15, 2008. The Tigers don’t seem to want the streak to end any time soon.
The Tigers are off until Thursday when they meet NCAA II Northwood University in Midland, MI at 7:00 PM.