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 splits in homestand, breaking three game losing streak

GVL / Macayla Cramer

The Grand Valley State University men’s basketball team split their homestand, losing 67-66 on a heartbreaking buzzer-beater to the Purdue Northwest University Pride before adjusting for a dominant 76-54 win over the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Rangers.

The matchup versus Purdue Northwest was even from the tip. Both teams played very physical and were a tad sloppy. However, after a 6-0 run by the Pride, the Lakers found themselves down 11-5 early in the first half.

GVSU was getting several great opportunities from 3-point land, but couldn’t get them to fall early. With the Lakers starting 0-5 from three and PNW making three of their 3-point attempts, the lead Rangers’ got up to 13 points with just under eight minutes to go in the first half.

With a handful of missed layups and a 23-10 deficit, the Lakers needed to get going on offense. 

GVSU junior William Dunn proceeded to drill two massive triples on back-to-back possessions to spark a 10-0 run, drawing the Lakers within three points in the closing minutes of the first half.

Down 30-25 at the break, GVSU had gained some momentum after struggling early.

GVL / Macayla Cramer

Much like late in the first, the second half was back and forth the entire game. After Ethan Alderink got fouled on a made jumper and hit the free throw, redshirt sophomore guard Trevor Smith followed up with a jump shot that tied the game 34-all. 

This was the first time GVSU tied the game since 5-5 in the first half.

Minutes later Marius Grazulis made a layup, putting the score at 44-42, giving the Lakers their first lead since the opening moments.

With 12 minutes remaining in the game, the lead did not last long. The Pride’s C.J. Jackson made a huge 3-pointer to answer and took the lead back just 19 seconds later.

GVSU would not take the lead back until under a minute left when Trevor Smith got fouled trying to gain control of a loose ball, putting him at the free throw line. After two clutch free throws from Smith, GVSU was back in front at 64-63.

After a PNW timeout, the Pride executed a beautiful lob play for Khalil Whitehead who threw it down with authority after cutting baseline and catching GVSU’s defense off guard.

Then it was GVSU head coach Cornell Mann’s turn to draw something up. With guard play being a huge factor in the second half for the Lakers, they went to sophomore guard Britain Harris. Harris, who had nine points in the second half already, backed down his defender one-on-one and made a tough fade away jump shot in the lane to snatch the lead back.

It was 66-65 and with 5.8 seconds left, the Lakers called a timeout before PNW inbounded. The Pride got the ball into Brendan Temple’s hands who backed down Kohen Thompson and made a heavily contested shot off glass to take the lead with 0.7 seconds to go.

GVSU had enough time to try a long three for the win, but it was just a tad off and GVSU fell to the Pride, 67-66.

After a sluggish start against PNW, the Lakers came out hot against Parkside in their second game of the week.

An early block from Dunn signaled improvements on the defensive end for the Lakers. After adding five points from him and a solid start for Grazulis, GVSU got out to a 9-2 lead and never gave it up for the rest of the game. Dunn led his team in two categories, having 18 points and seven rebounds.

The Lakers led Parkside for 39 minutes and 16 seconds of game time, never trailing in the matchup.

GVSU imposed their will on defense in the first half, forcing the Rangers to shoot several contested threes by keeping them out of the paint. Between the nine turnovers and 2-for-15 shooting from three from Parkside, the Lakers led 31-23 at the half.

GVSU then started the second half with six fouls in less than four minutes, putting Parkside in the bonus early on and giving the Rangers an opportunity to get back in the game.

Parkside also improved their shooting from three in the early portion of the second, going 4-for-6 to begin the half. GVSU had found themselves in another close game late with a score of 47-44 with just over 10 minutes to play.

Then, with five minutes remaining in the game, the guard play once again took over for GVSU. Harris stole the ball and made a breakaway layup. Then just a few plays later, the Lakers extended the lead to 10 after another Harris layup.

From then on, the GVSU lead continued to grow until the clock ticked zero, winning 76-54.

Dominating in bench points, the Lakers had important contributions from Grazulis and Trevon Gunter who helped GVSU put up 38 points from non-starters.

Grazulis, who had missed nearly a month and made his first appearance against PNW, looked like himself again. He led the team with over 25

GVL / Macayla Cramer

minutes, while tallying 15 points and six rebounds. Grazulis contributed to what was a 30-point advantage in the paint, with GVSU putting up 46 paint points and Parkside tallying just 16. 

“I felt really good,” Grazulis said. “Being able to come back and be kind of full-go without missing a step, today felt really good.”

Mann hammered home how important the return of Grazulis is for the Lakers who have missed him in their starting five since mid-December.

“It means everything for everyone else,” Mann said. “Mar will get his touches and he’ll score the ball when he can, but he garners so much attention that it allows guys like Tre (Gunter) to get open shots.”

Gunter shot 50% from three and had 13 points for the Lakers, an efficient and consistent scorer for the Lakers off the bench against the Rangers.

GVSU will hit the road against nearby rival, the Davenport University Panthers, on Saturday, Feb. 3 at 3 p.m. with nearly a full week between games.

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