The Manhattan Christian College men’s basketball team had its 11-game winning streak snapped on Saturday against Grace University, 83-70, in the NCCAA II Central Region Championship game.
This was the third meeting of the year between these two teams and MCC had won the previous two meetings.
Saturday saw Grace connect on 14-of-24 from the 3-point line and it also connected on 19-of-23 from the free throw line, which proved to be a major difference in the ballgame.
Grace opened up a 32-20 lead late in the first half, but MCC responded with an 11-3 run to close the gap to 35-31 at the half. In the second half MCC tied the game early and it remained closed until Grace hit consecutive 3s in the second half to go up 58-50.
MCC dug a deeper hole when it fouled Grace on a layup and received a technical foul, which allowed Grace to push the lead out to 69-58.
In the final 2 minutes MCC cut the lead to 75-69, but went 2-for-7 from the free throw line, which prohibited them from getting closer.
Grace hit their free throws down the stretch to secure the victory. Freshmen Sage Ruis led MCC with 23 points, while Lonnie Penner added 14 points and Jack Mitchell chipped in with 12.
Late Saturday night MCC found out it would receive one of four at-large bids for the NCCAA II National Tournament. The Crusaders will be the No. 10 seed and open the tournament against the No. 7-seed Hillsdale College (Moore, Okla.) on March 6.