GVSU Men’s Basketball earns sixth win of season over Indiana Tech

Courtesy+%2F+GVSU+Lakers
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GVSU Men’s Basketball earns sixth win of season over Indiana Tech

Courtesy / GVSU Lakers

Courtesy / GVSU Lakers

Courtesy / GVSU Lakers

Courtesy / GVSU Lakers

Kellen Voss, Sports Editor

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While the Grand Valley State men’s basketball team looked like it had some post-turkey lethargy all game long, they were able to earn a win after a few clutch plays in the fourth quarter to beat the Indiana Tech Warriors, 62-59. The win brings the Lakers to 6-1 this season.

The Lakers lost the rebounding battle to the Warriors, 43-40, including seven offensive rebounds corralled by Indiana Tech in the first 12 minutes of the ball game.

While head coach Ric Wesley was complementary of the size of the Warriors, he was clearly upset with his team for not boxing out and giving Indiana Tech too many opportunities for second chance points.

“We didn’t have the focus and energy that I had hoped, and their big guys gave us problems and made it tough to score — they’re one of the bigger teams we’ve played,” Wesley said. “We got to rebound way better than we did. We relied too much on Christian (Negron) and Jake (Van Tubbergen) to get them, but we need more guys to stick in their and get in the fight.”

Relying on Van Tubbergen worked out well for the Lakers, as he had a couple clutch shots and free throws down the stretch to solidify the win for GVSU. The junior racked up 21 points and 14 rebounds to earn his fourth double-double in the Lakers’ seven games.

“Like coach was saying, they are a big, strong team,” Van Tubbergen said. “I tried to get in there and grab as many balls as I could coming off the rim to give our team the best chance to win.”

The Laker offense looked stagnant at times, partially thanks to starting point guard Jeremiah Ferguson being out to nurse a nagging foot injury.

With the senior leader out, fellow senior in transfer Jayden Hodgson took the brunt of that work, as he and junior John Slater combined to help run the Laker offense.

Hodgson rarely got a water break in the win, as the Australian athlete played all 40 minutes of the game. He was second in scoring, putting up 16 points to go along with four assists, including 12 of those points coming in the second half off key midrange buckets to take the lid off the hoop and end certain scoring droughts for the Lakers.

“It’s always going to be more stagnant (on offense) when your starting point guard is out for the first time all year,” Hodgson said. “We’re going to have to step up until Ferguson gets back.”

Hodgson had been nursing an ankle injury leading up to this game, so he was surprised at how little pain he was in after playing every minute of the game, crediting the GVSU coaching staff for being tentative with his injury.

“I feel pretty good, especially considering some of the injuries I’ve had lately,” Hodgson said. “After missing a lot of practices, I participated in every practice this week, so my leg feels very good.”

Despite the win, Wesley was clearly disappointed in his team’s non-energetic performance, especially considering they practiced every day this week except for Turkey Day.

“I thought we had pretty good practices, and we were only off for a little more than 24 hours,” Wesley said. “Their strength and size caused us some issues, but we know we have got to be a lot better come Thursday and starting GLIAC play.”

GLIAC play for the Lakers does indeed start this week, as the Lakers host Wisconsin-Parkside Thursday, Dec. 5. That game is scheduled to tip off at 8 p.m.