The Tigers traveled across town to take on the Golden Eagles of Cornerstone University and received a lesson in free throw shooting in the 80-70 loss. Cornerstone is the reigning NAIA II National Champions.
The game was close throughout with the first half showing seven lead changes and four ties. Grace’s largest lead was four points in the half. Cornerstone went into the locker room with a 39-36 advantage.
The second half would be more of the same. With just over eight minutes remaining, the Golden Eagles held a 55-54 lead. The difference in tonight’s game was at the free throw line as Cornerstone hit 25-33 to the Tigers 8-18. The Tigers shot a season low 41% from the floor for the game compared to CU’s 40.5%. For the third time this season the Tigers were outrebounded in a game. CU held a 47-39 advantage on the boards.
“We were forced to play a different game tonight then what we planned,” said Coach Gary Bailey. “With Cory Jamieson picking up his third foul in the first half we were a little out of sync early. This was Ryan Dame’s first game back in in almost three weeks and he seemed a little rusty. But it all comes down to making free throws and we have just not been good at the line this year. We have four losses and three of them are a direct result of poor free throw shooting. It’s a little hard to take losses like this when you play so hard and can’t make a free throw. We will get back to work on this right away.”
John Oostema led Grace with 17 points with Cory Jamieson hitting for 12 and Ryan Dame 10. Zach Schutte pulled down 7 rebounds to lead the Tigers.