Seniors Billy Geschke and Christian Grider combined once again to lead the Goshen College men’s basketball team to an 87-82 victory over the University of Rio Grande in the Caleb Dimmich Memorial Classic at Luckey Arena on Saturday.Geschke and Grider joined forces to pencil in 51 of Goshen’s 87 points in the 40-minute affair. Grider lead the charge for the Leafs (4-1) with a game-high 27 points to Geschke’s 24. The 27-point outing for Grider was just five points shy of his career-high set earlier this season against Lawrence Tech and the third best of his career. The scoring spurt bumps the Ohio native’s season average to 19.3 points per contest, second on the team behind sidekick Geschke.
Geschke’s 24 was an aptly placed encore to his 1,000th point scored Friday evening, and just shy of his team-leading season average of 23.6. The guard currently ranks 3rd in the NAIA Division II in total scoring with 94.
Geschke stole the show early on for the men in purple as the sharpshooter tabbed 18 first-half points, helping Goshen sail into the half with a comfortable 46-37 advantage. Rio Grande (0-2) did its best impression of its nickname, the Red Storm, to fight back into contention throughout the second period.
Goshen led by as much as 13 in the second frame but a steady diet from the Red Storm from the 12th minute on saw the Goshen lead shrink to as little as one with 49 seconds remaining. Grider would not let that margin linger, as he nailed his second 3-ball of the evening with 34 seconds left before sinking a pair of free throws after a URG turnover to bring the lead back to five and put the performance into the history books.
“That was by far our best defensive performance of the year,” said Goshen head coach Jon Tropf. “Our energy and intensity has never been better and I’m incredibly proud of how we handled adversity in the final minutes.”
Fellow senior Devin Heath-Granger was the lone Leaf to join Geschke and Grider with double-digit scoring. The point man provided 11 to pair with his routine team high in assists (five this time). Forward Alhassan Barrie continued his strong rebounding presence to pace GC with 10, splitting his efforts between the offensive and defensive glass with five in each category.
Goshen concluded the Dimmich Classic a perfect 2-0 and looks to continue its hot hand this coming Saturday as they visit top-ranked Cornerstone University at 3 p.m. in Grand Rapids, Michigan.