January 13, 2016

Turnovers cost Wolverines against Chatham

GROVE CITY, Pa. -- The Grove City College men's basketball team led nearly from start to finish, but Chatham's Josh Randall hit a three with 32 seconds remaining to put his team on top as the Wolverines fell to the Cougars 69-66 in Presidents' Athletic Conference Action on Wednesday evening in College Arena.

Sophomore center Cory Huff (Kersey, Pa./Elk County Catholic) led Grove City (9-5, 4-3 PAC) with a game-high 19 points while senior guard Joe Vermilya (Sylvania, Ohio/Southview) added 15. Senior forward Caleb Knudsen (Saylorsburg, Pa./Pius X) posted 12 points, six rebounds and six assists.

Chatham (3-11, 3-4 PAC) hit their first of 10 threes on the evening to score first, but the Wolverines answered with a 15-6 run to lead 15-9 with 15:48 remaining. The Cougars would close within three once again, but Grove City would counter again with an 11-2 spurt to lead 26-14 on a jumper by freshman guard Gabe Goode (Cocoa, Fla./Cocoa) at the 10:12 mark.

The Grove City advantage would reach 13 on another Goode jumper with 6:47 left in the half, but Chatham would chip away to close within nine. The Cougars' Logan Hunter then drained a three with six seconds remaining, and Randall stole the ensuing inbound pass for a layup as time expired to cut Grove City's lead to just four at 38-34 at the break.

Vermilya and Huff each had 10 first-half points for the Wolverines. Grove City shot 58 percent (18 of 31) before the break and held Chatham to 41 percent (12 of 29) but 10 Wolverine turnovers and a 6-11 showing from three-point range by the Cougars kept the game close.

Early in the second half, Chatham would close within a single point two occasions, but the Wolverines used a 9-3 spurt, capped by consecutive layups from Knudsen and junior forward Tyler McGrath (Pottstown, Pa./Owen J. Roberts) to extend the lead back to seven at 55-48 with 8:49 remaining. The Cougars would continue to battle, using a 10-2 run to take a 58-57 lead - their first since the opening minutes - on an Isaiah Brown jumper at the six-minute mark.

A Huff layup would put Grove City back on top and spark a 7-0 run to give the Wolverines a 64-58 lead with just 3:13 left. The two teams would trade scores to push the score to 66-60, but Nasir Alexander would hit a three on Chatham's next possession to bring the Cougars within three at the 1:40 mark. Following a Chatham timeout, Grove City would turn the ball over on their next possession, and Alex Schoppen hit a three to tie the game at 66-66 with just 1:16 to play.

The Wolverines would miss their initial shot and a pair of put-back opportunities on their possession, but Chatham finally snared the rebound, setting up Randall's three which would prove to be the game-winner. Grove City would get three chances to tie the game, as Chatham missed the front-end of a 1-and-1 on two occasions, but the Wolverines couldn't connect.

Grove City held a 40-24 advantage on the glass, but Chatham recorded 15 steals to force a total of 21 Grove City turnovers while committing just 14. Sophomore forward Andrew Beckman (Shelby, Mich./Shelby) led the Wolverines with eight rebounds.

Grove City visits Mercer County-rival Thiel on Saturday at 3 p.m. in PAC play.

Box Score

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