GBC started strong in the second half with a better defensive effort and some halftime adjustments to the offense by Coach Gary Bailey. The Tigers regained the lead early in the second half and held it until less than six minutes to play, when IWU collected an offensive rebound on the baseline and scored to tie it 67-67.
Indiana Wesleyan tied the game three more times before sophomore guard Jordan Weidner hit a pair of free throws to take the lead 75-74 with 2:29 remaining. Following two straight stops on the defensive end, Indiana Wesleyan increased the lead to 77-74 when junior forward Taylor Schoen scored with 1:22 left on the clock.
Grace Bible (0-2) trimmed the deficit to one with 12 seconds left. But Weidner continued his clutch free throw shooting with a pair of free throws to up the score 79-76 with 10 seconds left.
Indiana Wesleyan fouled Ryan Krombeen with six seconds left and the forward hit both free throws to again make it a one point game. Grace Bible immediately fouled and sent Weidner back to the line. He hit both for an 81-78 lead and 4.7 seconds on the clock.
Zach Schutte was able to heave a half court prayer at the buzzer. The shot hit the backboard and then drew iron but failed to go down and a valiant effort fell short.
“I was extremely pleased with our effort and play in the second half,” said Coach Bailey. “Our guys worked hard to implement our halftime requests. Our goal in these early games is to keep getting better, and we did that tonight. I’m proud of these guys to play like this against a highly ranked, superbly coached NAIA program. We never enjoy losing but we will use this as a stepping stone to better things to come.”
Weidner led IWU and all players with 22 points. Senior point guard Cory Jamieson led the Tigers with 19 points and all players with 8 rebounds. Ryan Krombeen, Matt Kurtz, and Zach Schutte also hit double figures on the scoreboard for Grace.
GBC faces another NAIA team, Madonna University, tomorrow at 1:00 PM in the final day of this classic tournament.