GVSU men’s basketball falls to Ferris State, LSSU

GVL/ Leah Kerr

GVL/ Leah Kerr

Kellen Voss

The Grand Valley State men’s basketball team dropped their final two games of winter break, losing to Ferris State 86-79 on Thursday, Jan. 3 before falling to Lake Superior State two days later 85-72. With the two defeats, GVSU drops to 9-5 on the season and 3-3 in the GLIAC.

While the Lakers did shoot a decent 46.3 percent from the field against the Bulldogs, that wasn’t enough to stop the ferocious defense and relentless offensive rebounding of their rivals, as the defending national champs left Fieldhouse Arena with the victory.

Even though head coach Ric Wesley was proud of the way his team showed resiliency, he felt that not being able to take care of the ball was a big reason for the loss.

“We were just a little rusty, and we had way too many turnovers in that first half, along with giving up way too many offensive rebounds,” Wesley said. “I’m proud of our guys for the two or three times we mounted a comeback, we just couldn’t finish the job.”

The Lakers gave up 26 turnovers compared to only 17 from Ferris State. While GVSU did ultimately win the rebounding battle 43-40, Ferris State killed them on the offensive boards, doubling the Lakers’ offensive rebounds 18-9.

Jake Van Tubbergen posted his third double-double of the season in the contest with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while also amassing four blocks and four steals. Rather than shying away from it, Van Tubbergen embraces the physical play in rivalry games like the one on Thursday.

“Ferris (State) is a big strong team,” Van Tubbergen said. “They like to attack the boards, but we like to attack the boards too. We try to get to line as much as possible, even though they had 34 free throws attempts and we had 27, I think that played into the loss.”

While the Lakers wanted to come back from the loss to Ferris State, they couldn’t the job done at Sault. Ste. Marie, Mich. as Lake Superior State was able to beat them by double digits.

Strong shooting from the Lakers in the first half helped them to a 16 point lead with five minutes left in the first half, including four three-pointers drilled by Hunter Hale, but those hot hands eventually cooled off in the second half, which helped LSSU to victory.

Hale was able to lead the team in scoring on Saturday with 24 points, as Kindred Williams pulled in a team-high nine rebounds and Isaiah Brock swatted away three shots in the contest.

Inconsistent guard play has been a common theme for the Lakers all season long, and Wesley really feels that the team needs more dependable play out of their point guards. This was especially the case in the game against FSU, as point guards Jeremiah Ferguson and Steve Lloyd combined for one assist and seven turnovers in the rivalry game.

“Clearly our ball handling and passing needs to improve. No offense to junior high teams, but with 26 turnovers, we played like a junior high team tonight,” Wesley said. “It’s been a little bit of an Achilles heel for us, and our point guard play has got to be way better. They’re the guys that need to be the calming influence, but if we give up the ball before we get a shot, it’s pretty hard to score.”

The Lakers look to improve upon these two losses this week, as they have two home games with GLIAC foes ahead. They face Saginaw Valley State on Thursday, Jan. 10 at 8 p.m. before facing Northwood two days later at 8 p.m.