Lions men overrun Pioneers, 87-71

HANCOCK – Balanced scoring and senior leadership helped the Finlandia University men’s basketball team to an 87-71 victory over Northland International Saturday afternoon.

“I was pleased with our overall play today,” FU coach Terry Smith said after his team’s third straight win. “We’re improving a little bit with each game. We could have been a little better on defense and our turnovers, but we rebounded better and had the good balance.”

Seniors Dominic Morrow and Anthony Grandberry came in for plaudits from Smith. The former scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while the latter was good for 11 points, 11 assists and four steals.

Toss in a game-high 23 points and 13 rebounds from junior Jon Moore and 20 points from junior Keith Arnold and the Lions had more than enough to finish on the credit side at Paavo Nurmi Gym.

NIU coach Pete Wehry said his team may have had some tired legs after playing its sixth game in 11 days.

“We didn’t look real energized out there,” Wehry said. “But you have give credit to Finlandia, they kept attacking … and putting the pressure on us.”

After building a 44-30 margin at halftime, the Blue and White had to weather a couple of rallies by the Wisconsin team in the second half.

A couple of timely three-pointers from Matt Strong and Dylan Schroeder helped the team move from a 54-47 margin early in the second half into a 61-47 cushion.

Moore – coming off a nice 34-point game at Northland College on Tuesday – put the final nail in the coffin by scoring eight straight points after NIU edged to within 71-65 late in the game.

“Jonny (Moore) has that ability to score points in a hurry,” Smith noted.

Schroeder tossed in nine more points for the 4-13 winners and Strong, the former Houghton High standout, had six points and a “solid all-around game,” according to his coach.

NIU, which is 11-6 on the season, received 21 points from Josh Conover. Anthony Lewis, Micah Bines and Jon Egan followed with 13, 12 and 11, respectively.

Finlandia, which held a 45-32 edge on the boards, tackles Northland College next Tuesday.