Goshen upsets top team in the nation

Goshen upsets top team in the nation


Staff Writer


The underdog role prevailed for the Maple Leafs as the Goshen College men’s basketball team upset the top team in the nation, the University of Saint Francis 89-80 in Crossroads League action last Saturday afternoon in Gunden Gymnasium.

The reigning NAIA Division II national champion, Saint Francis (11-1, 2-1 CL) came into the contest as the highest scoring offense in the nation, averaging over 95 points per contest. The Cougars lived up to those expectations early on, jumping out to a 9-0 lead just two minutes into the first half.

Goshen stayed within striking distance and then used an 11-0 run late in the half to take the lead with two minutes remaining in the opening frame. Christian Grider, a junior, led the charge throughout the run by scoring seven straight points. In the closing moments, the Cougars went on a 5-0 run of their own and regained a 34-32 lead heading into the locker room.

Coming out of the halftime break, the Maple Leafs caught fire, dominating on both ends of the court. An assortment of runs, including a 14-0 stretch midway through the frame, were largely due to Goshen shooting 57 percent from the floor alongside a stellar half-court zone defense. Conner Funkhouser, a junior, buried four of his six 3-pointers for the Maple Leafs early in the half to take the lead with 13:24 left in the contest. Goshen clinched the upset late by shooting a perfect 10-for-10 from the free-throw line and holding the Cougars to just 1-of-7 from the field in the final minute of play.

Funkhouser earned Crossroads League Player of the Week honors with his season-high 23 points, 18 of which came from behind the arc. Grider and Devin Heath-Granger, a junior, finished with double-doubles in the contest. Heath-Granger posted a season-high 18 points along with a career-high 10 assists, while also collecting five boards and two key steals that afternoon. Grider provided the needed spark off the bench for the Maple Leafs, adding 19 points and a career-high 10 rebounds. Grider also finished a perfect 7-of-7 from the charity stripe.

The win marks Goshen’s first in 13 contests against the nation’s top-ranked team and the second time in 49 tries against a top-five team in the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Coaches Poll.

The men looked to build off the historic victory, taking on rival Bethel College; however, the contest against the no. 17 ranked Pilots hadn’t finished by print deadline.

Written by Record

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