Vikings' comeback bid falls short against Grinnell

Lawrence men's basketball action Mason Materna
Lawrence's Mason Materna scored 26 points and hit 10-of-11 shots from the floor against Grinnell.

APPLETON, Wis. -- The Lawrence University men's basketball team rallied from a 19-point deficit Saturday before Grinnell College pulled away for a 122-107 Midwest Conference victory at Alexander Gymnasium.

The Vikings were down by 19 in the first half but steadily chipped away after the break and cut the margin to five points with just under six minutes remaining. Grinnell used a four-point possession to regain the momentum and pulled away over the final five minutes.

Brad Sendell paced Lawrence (3-4, 1-1 MWC) with 28 points, and he added six rebounds and six assists. Mason Materna hit 10-of-11 shots from the floor, including 4-of-4 from 3-point range on his way to 26 points for the Vikings.

Bryce Denham picked up 25 points, including two on a thunderous dunk, and eight rebounds, and Quinn Fisher handed out a game-high eight assists for Lawrence.

Vinny Curta scored 48 points to pace Grinnell (5-2, 2-0) as he hit 14-of-24 shots from the floor and went 20-for-24 from the foul line. Ky-Sean Johnson added 24 points for the Pioneers.

Grinnell led 53-34 with 2:43 left in the first half, but Lawrence went on a 13-7 run to trim the margin to 60-47 at the half.

The Vikings finally made a run at the Pioneers thanks to Sendell, who scored nine consecutive points, capped by a 3-pointer, to cut Grinnell's lead to 99-90 with 8:09 left. George Mavrakis, who finished with 12 points, then picked up a layup to cut the margin to 99-92. The teams traded baskets before Denham took a pass from Fisher on the fastbreak and hammered home a dunk to trim the margin to 101-96 with 5:55 left.

On Grinnell's next possession, Lawrence was hit with a foul and the same player was whistled for a technical. Curta made two of the four free throws, but Grinnell grabbed the offensive rebound on the last miss and the ensuing layup by Curta gave the Pioneers a 105-96 lead.

Sendell answered with a 3-pointer, but it was all Curta down the stretch as he scored the game's seven points to put the Pioneers up 110-99. Lawrenc didn't get closer than nine points the rest of the way.