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 grabs two big home wins over Ferris and LSSU

GVL / Macayla Cramer

The Grand Valley State University men’s basketball team won both of their final home games of the season, beating two of the top teams in the conference. On Thursday, Feb. 22, the Lakers were triumphant in an 87-77 thriller over their rival, the Ferris State University Bulldogs (20-7, 10-6), before upsetting Lake Superior State University (19-7, 11-5) 93-75 on Saturday, Feb. 24 for senior day.

The energy in the crowd was palpable on Thursday night as the rivalry game pulled in the largest attendance the GVSU Fieldhouse Arena had seen this season with over 1,600 people. The Lakers fed off of the crowd throughout the game and it was evident that the fans played a huge factor after early back-to-back buckets from GVSU forward Marius Grazulis forced a Ferris State timeout.

The Lakers got off to a hot start from 3-point land as four different players hit from downtown and the Lakers found themselves with an early 10-point, up 22-12 lead seven minutes into the first half.

Things got a little chippy after sophomore guard Britain Harris was bear hugged on a fast break in order to stop an easy bucket, but it only seemed to fire up Harris as he drilled a deep 3-pointer for the Lakers on the very next possession.

This shot would spark a 10-point run for GVSU that pushed their lead to 17 points, 33-16, with under 10 minutes remaining in the first half.

GVL / Macayla Cramer

The Bulldogs answered behind the shooting of Ethan Erickson, who had 13 points in the first half. Ferris State cut the lead all the way down to six before the break, making the score 42-36 with just one minute to go in the half. 

However, the Lakers would end the half with six straight points in the final 60 seconds, which included a monster slam from redshirt junior William Dunn and a buzzer beating layup by Britain Harris. 

GVSU led the Bulldogs by double digits at halftime, 48-36. 

The Lakers were able to keep Ferris State at a distance for a good portion of the second half, as it seemed like anytime the Bulldogs would score, GVSU had an answer in return. 

However, after a free throw from Jalen Charity with 13 minutes left in the game, the Lakers would go on a scoring drought for the next four minutes that allowed the Bulldogs to inch closer.

Ferris did not waste the opportunity. They proceeded to go on a 9-0 run and claw their way back. The momentum had completely swung the other way, and now the Lakers were only up by three points with under 10 minutes to play.

The game was 56-53 when Harris, who had a dominant performance all day, stepped up when GVSU needed it most. After a drive to the paint where he got fouled, Harris hit both free throws and was at 21 points for the game.

Those free throws were the start of an eight-point run by the Lakers that would extend their lead back up to double digits.

Once again the Bulldogs would not be put away without a fight. They responded to this run by hitting three straight 3-pointers that brought the lead back down to five. 

This prompted GVSU head coach Cornell Mann to call a timeout with two minutes left, up 76-71. Mann drew up a play that worked to perfection for Dunn, who drilled a 3-pointer and was fouled. He capped off the four-point play, which would be the dagger.

After clutch free throws by several GVSU guards, the Lakers would go on to beat rival Ferris State 77-67.

“You have to understand what a rivalry is, and this rivalry is strong,” Mann said. “You got to put them up and you got to fight.”

GVL / Macayla Cramer

Harris, who had a career-high 23 points, was happy with the big win over the Bulldogs. 

“It was great, especially coming off an ‘L’ at their home,” Harris said. “We executed and let our game do the talking.” 

The matchup versus LSSU, on the other hand, started a bit rough for the Lakers. After the first bucket of the game was scored by Ethan Alderink, GVSU went scoreless for a nearly five minute stretch.

During this time, the Lakers shot 1 for 8 from the field and LSSU got off to an early 8-3 lead. This drought ended for GVSU when redshirt junior guard Trevon Gunter got fouled on a 3-point attempt and made all three of his free throws. 

Then, just a minute later, Gunter drilled his first of five 3-pointers in a big-time shooting performance. This sparked a 10-0 run for the Lakers and gave them a 10-point lead midway through the first half. 

It was at this point that Dunn also started to heat up, hitting three consecutive 3-pointers and extending the GVSU lead to 19.

Dunn and Gunter combined for 30 points in the first half and the Lakers went into halftime with a 50-35 lead over LSSU.

The shooting in the second half remained equally as hot for the Lakers, but GVSU really started to pull away from LSSU because of their defense. 

This was evident when at the 10 minute mark of the second half, when GVSU redshirt freshman Shamus Thompson had a monster block that led to an and-one for Gunter. This play got the crowd of more than 1,300 fans fired up.

The Lakers would ultimately go on to beat LSSU 93-75 behind a career-high of 29 points from Trevon Gunter. Gunter credited his team and coaches for his monster performance.

“My teammates and coaching staff believe in me,” Gunter said. “They tell me to shoot pretty much everyday in practice and in games.”

Following the momentum of two big wins, GVSU will go on the road to play Northern Michigan on Thursday, Feb. 29 at 7:30 p.m., their first of two road games to end the regular season.

The Lakers moved to 12-14 on the season and 9-7 in conference as they look towards the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Tournament in order to make a bid for the national tournament. GVSU is currently the fourth seed overall in the GLIAC and have already clinched a conference tournament berth.

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