Grinnell player breaks D-III scoring record

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Griffin Lentsch's 36 minutes might not seem unusual to the average fan, but for Grinnell, well, it's unusual.
Grinnell athletics file photo

Usually even the best Grinnell players don't play more than 20-25 minutes per game, but on Saturday Griffin Lentsch played for 36 and went off for 89 points in the Pioneers' 145-97 crushing of Principia. Lentsch scored the last 22 points of the game for the Pioneers.

Lentsch set the NCAA Division III record for single-game scoring, breaking the mark set by another Grinnell player, Jeff Clement, who scored 77 on Feb. 18, 1998.

Lentsch shot 27-for-55 from the floor, including 15-for-33 from three-point range in the win. He was 20-for-22 from the foul line.

The 89 points is the third-best in NCAA men's basketball history and the best since 1954.

“We knew Griffin had a chance to put up big numbers, but something like this is simply amazing,” said Grinnell assistant coach David N. Arseneault, who will serve as the team’s interim head coach during the second semester while his father, David Arseneault, is on sabbatical. “But it really was an entire team effort. The guys contributed in terms of setting screens and getting him the ball. It was incredible to watch. As Griffin scored more and more points, our bench got louder and louder.”

Lentsch, who had 40 points at halftime, is still in awe of the record. “It’s still setting in,” he said. “I didn’t think I would ever score that many points.”

Lentsch said early on, he wasn’t necessarily shooting well. “I was trying some 3s, but some of them weren’t dropping so I started driving to the basket,” he explained. “I figured if I could get some easier shots and also get to the free throw line, that would help me reset and get my shooting touch and confidence back.”

Lentsch was quick to credit others for his record, though. “All the credit goes to my teammates, in all honesty,” he said. “They did such a great job of setting screens and getting me open. I never would have come remotely close to doing this without them.”

Patrick Maher and Jack Adams had 10 points each for Grinnell. Maher also dished out 13 assists and recorded six steals. Joe Rogers, Dominique Bellamy and Brian McManamy had five rebounds each.

Grinnell led by just four points at 16-12 before going on a 13-4 run to break open the game. Lentsch had eight points during the spurt, including a pair of treys, while Matt Skelly ’13 had a 3-pointer and Adams a basket.

Grinnell led 75-50 at halftime and never looked back. Lentsch tied the D-III mark of 77 points with a free throw at the 4:37 mark, and broke it with another charity shot at the 4:06 mark.