The No. 18 Charger men’s basketball team survived a late scare 72-69 against the Yellow Jackets Tuesday evening in Lamoni, Iowa. Graceland had a chance to tie the game with two seconds left in regulation, but was unable to get a three-point attempt off in time. Briar Cliff improved to 3-0 with the win, while Graceland slipped to 2-3.
The game was close throughout and the Cliff headed into intermission with a narrow 33-31 lead. The Chargers edged the Yellow Jackets 39-38 in the second half to secure the 72-69 victory. The score was tied on four occasions in the contest and the lead also changed hands four times. Briar Cliff’s biggest lead was 11 points five minutes into the game, compared to Graceland holding a four point advantage 16 minutes after the opening tip. BC created 19 turnovers and exchanged them for 18 points. Comparatively, GU generated seven points off of 17 BC turnovers. Briar Cliff won the statistical categories of assists (17-9) and steals (8-6). Graceland earned the advantage in rebounds (41-25), points in the paint (24-12), second chance points (15-5) and bench scoring (32-4). The Chargers shot 42.1 percent from the field, 41.5 percent from distance and 77.8 from the charity stripe, while the Yellow Jackets went 46.3 percent from the floor, 31.3 percent from downtown and 73.7 percent from the free throw line.
Four Chargers hit double figures with Jay Wolfe leading the way with 22 points. Jackson Lamb was second in scoring with 20, trailed by Erich Erdman dropping 14 points and Josh Belling pitching in 12. Erdman had a near double-double with eight assists to go with his 14 points. Wolfe dished out four helpers to go with a team-high six rebounds, followed by Lamb and Blake Wiltgen with five boards apiece. Wiltgen and Erdman both notched three steals.
LT Davis was the top scorer for the Yellow Jackets with 17 points. Both Jordan Dembley and Jared Mayers were second in scoring, netting 14 points each. Justin Harley pulled in a team leading 13 boards and paced the team with three assists. Harley and Davis caused two Charger turnovers apiece.
Briar Cliff will battle Friends in the home opener on Friday night. The Chargers and Falcons are scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. tip inside the Newman Flanagan Center.