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Second Half Surge Pushes Grace Into Quarterfinals

March 08, 2013
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Matt Bos-Media Coordinator, written by Mike Byker, SID at Dordt College
POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. (Box Score) - The Grace (Ind.) Lancers started fast and closed with a flourish in beating Cal Maritime 72-53 in the second round of the 2013 NAIA Division II Men's National Basketball Championship. 

Grace got up 12-2 with four different players scoring field goals in the first five minutes of the game.  Cal Maritime was able to regroup and outscored Grace 8-2 over the final 4:48 of the first half to trail 22-19.  Offense was at a premium for the first 20 minutes as the defense dictated play, resulting in the two teams combining for 29% shooting.

The Keelhaulers, making their second straight appearance in the tournament, hung close early in the second half but allowed Grace to go on a 14-0 run from the 18:35 mark of the second half to the 14:58 mark and found themselves down 41-23.  Grace was never threatened the rest of the game as their lead was never less than 17 down the stretch.

Grace held Cal Maritime to 19-56 shooting for 34% while converting 26-56 shots including 6-18 three-point attempts.  The Lancers, making their third straight appearance in the tournament, held a 39-34 rebounding advantage and committed just 10 turnovers against the pressuring Cal Maritime defense.

Elliott Smith and Karl Columbus were the leading scorers for Grace. Smith converted four three-point shots and Columbus was 9-15 from the field.  Columbus also had a game high nine rebounds. 

Cal Maritime got 15 points from reserve guard Howie Manzo as he converted 7-10 field goals and Anthony Simi added 10 points. Cal Maritime, tournament champions in the California Pacific Athletic Conference, end their season with a 25-7 record. 

Grace advances into the quarterfinal round for the fourth time in school history and for the first time since 2009. The Lancers take a 23-9 record into their contest against either Dakota State (S. D.) or St. Thomas (Fla.) on Saturday at 7:00 pm. The 32-team, single elimination tournament concludes Tuesday, March 12, with the championship game to tip-off at 8 pm.