The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

GV men’s basketball wins two straight for first time since mid-November

GVL/ Macayla Cramer

Grand Valley State University’s men’s basketball team moved to 4-1 in conference play and 7-8 overall with two home victories over Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) opponents Saginaw Valley State University Cardinals (9-5) on Thursday, Jan. 11 and a 74-70 win over the Wayne State University Warriors on Saturday, Jan. 13.

Lakers’ second-year head coach Cornell Mann said that the team’s toughness and perseverance is what helped pull out the two wins this weekend.

GVL / Macayla Cramer

“We have to be resilient, it’s a staple for us and it’s something that we have been building since last year,” Mann said. “Our guys are having more fun, so the resiliency, with the ability to enjoy the game, is really the key for us.” 

SVSU came out dominant, taking an early double-digit lead with 12 minutes remaining in the first half. The Cardinals eventually went up 28-14 to take their biggest lead of the game, over halfway through the first 20 minutes. The Lakers fought back, taking some momentum and cutting the deficit to six on a pair of Mason Docks free throws to close out the half.

The Cardinals came out of the break firing and rebuilt their lead to eight points in the early moments of the second half, but the Lakers quickly responded with a William Dunn 3-pointer five minutes into the half. GVSU tied the game 54-54 on a Kohen Thompson jumper, and on the following possession, Ethan Alderink’s layup would give the Lakers their first lead of the game with 12:35 to go.

It would be a tug-of-war battle over the lead for the next three minutes when a Jalen Charity three put the Lakers up 63-57 and the Cardinals followed by nailing a 3-pointer and a layup to pull back within one. 

After both teams hit jumpers with the Lakers still leading by one, Docks drove in for a tough layup to put the Lakers up 76-73. With 4:30 left in the game, each team traded shots for the next two minutes as Charity put the Lakers back up four with a layup with two minutes remaining. Trevor Smith would hit a three to seal the game, giving the Lakers an 88-83 win against an in-state rival.

It was an all-around team effort for the Lakers with six players scoring in double figures. Dunn and Alderink led the team with 16 points, while Dunn knocked down four 3-pointers and had five rebounds. Alderink added five rebounds of his own.

Alderink and Dunn are a close second and third on the GVSU team scoring just over 11 points per game for each forward. Dunn is second in rebounds with 6.7 per game and Alderink is third with an even four, behind big-man Marius Grazulis who averages 9.4 rebounds per game.

Redshirt junior guard Trevon Gunter said the team has shown grit and attention to detail, the way he wanted the squad to play all year.

“Since the non-conference schedule, we have been talking about how we got to do the little things to win these close games that we are in and I thought we did a good job closing this one out, coming together as a team to get the win,” Gunter said.

The Lakers looked to close out the successful weekend with another win in their second home matchup of the week, this time against WSU.

The game’s first six minutes were filled with back-and-forth action with both teams vying for the lead. The Warriors built a 10-0 run that gave them an 11-point lead with eight minutes to play in the half before the Lakers answered with a 9-2 run that cut the deficit to five heading into the half.

A hook shot by Alderink tied the game early in the second half and on the following possession when Smith drove in for a layup. The Warriors would hit an and-one to retake the lead, but sophomore guard Mason Docks converted on two clutch and one to put the Lakers back up 50-48. 

The Lakers would extend their lead to nine when Charity hit a three with five minutes left to play. The Warriors would then slice the Lakers’ lead to two with just two minutes remaining in the game. A 3-point jumper from Smith with 54 seconds remaining and a couple of Docks free throws with one second on the clock sealed the 74-70 win for the Lakers.

Docks had some clutch plays for the Lakers in the second half. He said the team’s work in practice has led them to be able to come from behind and win.

“Coach has been on me and Trevor Smith to be leaders and control the team when we practice every day fighting with each other,” Docks said. “Like coach has said, iron sharpens iron. Where I can lead the team through these situations and be the voice on the court.”

The Lakers have two road matchups coming up this weekend, the first at Lake Superior State University on Jan. 18 and then against Ferris State University on Jan. 20. 

Even with the Lakers’ recent struggles on the road, Mann said he looks forward to the upcoming road games because of the growth his team has had so far this season.

GVL / Macayla Cramer

“We don’t have the same team. We gained experience and that’s what we needed,” Mann said. “As much as we are playing, we are gaining experience, wisdom and things of that sort to move us forward. So, I look forward to playing on the road.”

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