The Goshen College men’s basketball program fell to Taylor University 76-72 at Gunden Gymnasium this past Saturday to drop to 10-10 on the season and 3-5 in Crossroads League play.
Devin Heath-Granger, a senior point guard, got Goshen off to a fast start, making his first five shots including three 3-pointers. GC was ahead 16-9 by the first media timeout.
The Maple Leafs kept the pressure on the Trojans and eventually led 27-14 at the halfway point of the first half. Taylor would not fade away early in the game as the Trojans brought the pressure right back to Goshen, finishing the half 9-for-13 from the field. An Evan Crowe 3-pointer just before the half put the Trojans ahead 37-35 heading into the break.
Crowe led the Trojans in scoring in the first half with 10 points. Heath-Granger’s 13 points were enough for the team lead, while Billy Geschke added 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Both teams combined for just 9 turnovers in the first half.
Taylor stayed hot, starting the second half on an 18-5 run and stretching the lead to 55-44. Goshen had an answer, though, by holding Taylor to just five points over a five-plus minute span. Goshen reclaimed the lead 61-59 after a 16-5 run with only five minutes remaining in regulation.
Crowe came through for the Trojans again, notching a three at the 3:30 mark to regain the Taylor lead at 64-61. For the home team, it was still just a one-possession game. Just a minute later, however, Taylor extended their advantage 68-63.
With 1:19 left on the clock, Goshen held possession down just three points. Geschke’s drive to the basketball missed while Taylor’s Mason Degenkolb pulled down the carom. A quick defensive stand by the Leafs gave the hosts what came to be one final shot with 44 seconds remaining in a 71-68 game. Goshen turned to their hot hand in Heath-Granger, but the senior’s game-tying 3-point attempt was no good and the contest was all but over.
“Give credit to Taylor,” said Jon Tropf, Goshen interim head coach, in a statement to GoLeafs following the defeat. “They mixed it up on us and got us out of rhythm. It’s 100 percent my fault that our guys weren’t prepared for that. We didn’t come out to start the second half well, either. That’s something we have to get better at and we will.”
Geschke finished the game as GC’s leading scorer with 23 points, while Heath-Granger finished with 15 points and a game-high eight assists. Fellow senior Conner Funkhouser was the only other Goshen scorer in double-digits with 10 and Alhassan Barrie, a junior, patrolled the glass with a team-high eight rebounds.
Goshen will return to action following their road tilt against Huntington University Tuesday evening at Marian University (finished after print deadline). Tipoff is set for 3 p.m.