Months earlier, the Iowa Energy invited the Pioneers to participate in the doubleheader. Because Des Moines is almost an hour away the Student Alumni Association along with Student Athletic Advisory Committee made sure that the students had transportation to and from the game.
Though technically a home game for the Pioneers, the comfort of Darby was replaced by the cavernous Wells Fargo Arena, which can hold up to 17,000 fans on any given night. Despite the fact that this was the first time the Pioneers have played in downtown Des Moines, both the team and the community came out in full force.
“I was very impressed with the amount of students that came to the game,” said Bobby Long ’09. “We were worried with three minutes to go in the warm-ups and no one was there, but then hundreds of kids came in and they were really enthusiastic.”
According to Assistant Director of Alumni Relations Daniel McCue, 70 students took the bus, and many more drove to come cheer on the Pioneers. Including alumni, friends, and administration, well over 200 Grinnellians attended the event. Grinnellians were not the only ones at the game—according to the Des Moines Register the overall attendance was 3,229.
As for the game itself, the Pioneers showcased why they lead the NCAA in points per game. Shooting out to an 11-2 lead, the Pioneers took a 75-37 lead into the half. By the time the game was done, the Pioneers had easily defeated the Fighting Scots 122-79.
John Grotberg ’09 paced the Pioneers, hitting ten 3-pointers and going 10-10 from the charity stripe en route to a 48-point performance. Long continued his ascent up the Grinnell all-time scoring list, dropping 29 points, putting him only eight points behind sixth on the list.
“I think we came out and played really well in the first half,” Long said. “Everyone was knocking down shots, we got ourselves an early lead and played good defense. The atmosphere was electric—it encouraged a lot of us.”
Not only were Grinnellians treated to a night of exciting basketball, but thanks to the Student Alumni Association and other groups, they were invited to a delicious reception after the game on the second floor of the Wells Fargo Arena. “We realized there was an opportunity to bring the campus community and Grinnell community in central Iowa here together to celebrate Grinnell and the uniqueness of the system,” McCue said.
The reception, which was free courtesy of the Student Alumni Association, was held at the Principal River’s Edge Restaurant and gave Grinnellians a bird-eye view of the Iowa Energy vs. Tulsa 66ers. With complimentary tickets to the doubleheader and an assortment of food items, many students were glad they decided to make the journey. “I have a shitload of homework to do tonight,” said Austin Frerick ’12. “But it was nice to take a break.”