No. 22 Bulldogs outlast GVSU in OT thriller

GVL/Kevin Sielaff
#23 Luke Ryskamp

GVL/Kevin Sielaff #23 Luke Ryskamp

Jay Bushen

Ryan Sabin and his Grand Valley State teammates may have put together their best 40-minute performance of the season against the GLIAC’s top team on Monday night.

Overtime was a different story.

GVSU’s upset bid came up short against No. 22 Ferris State in front of more than 1,150 fans at Fieldhouse Arena as the Bulldogs (18-3) bombarded the Lakers (9-12) with 25 points in the extra session and escaped with a thrilling 96-85 victory.

“We played our hearts out,” Sabin said. “I think we played a hell of a game. We really did. It’s just tough when you play great and just a couple plays stick out in your head defensively — that’s all it was, just a couple plays. The score didn’t do it justice.”

The GLIAC North rivals battled to 13 tie scores and 12 lead changes before the final buzzer.

Ferris State’s hot start in overtime proved to be the difference. Drew Lehman and the Bulldogs came out firing, opening up a 12-0 run less than two minutes into the final frame.

Tempers started to flare from there. With less than a minute remaining, GVSU’s Trevin Alexander was charged with an intentional foul after colliding with a Ferris State player near midcourt in front of the Bulldog bench.

GVSU coach Ric Wesley pled his case with the officials, which resulted in two technical fouls, an ejection and six FSU free throws.

“That’s what we do and that’s what we’re wired for, that’s what we signed up for,” Wesley said. “We somehow revel in the competition part of it and when it doesn’t go your way, man it hurts.

“Like the end of the Super Bowl, a bit of a skirmish…Disappointed in myself a little bit there at the end but it’s part of the learning process. Our team’s got to be better.”

GVSU shot 45.8 percent from the field as a team compared to Ferris State’s mark of 43.8. The Bulldogs launched 31 three-point attempts, knocking down 12 (38.7 percent).

Lehman led FSU with 25 points and five boards. He was one of four Bulldogs to reach double figures with Josh Fleming (21 points), James Chappell (12) and Dietrich Lever (12).

“We’ve just got to keep our head towards the end,” said GVSU senior Darren Washington. “They hit a couple of big shots in overtime that kind of hurt us. From coaches to players, we’ve got to keep our heads at the end and focus on D. They scored 25 points in five minutes — that’s unbelievable. We didn’t allow that for the first 10 minutes.

Washington finished with 10 points, eight rebounds, four blocks and two assists. He was one of three Lakers to score in double figures with sophomore guard Luke Ryskamp (29 points, eight rebounds) and Sabin (20 points, five rebounds).

Junior guard Darren Kapustka also turned in an impressive performance for the Lakers with eight points and a career-high eight assists. Alexander added eight points and five boards.

The Lakers will look to end their six-game losing streak Thursday against Northern Michigan at 8 p.m. GVSU will then host Michigan Tech for another GLIAC North battle on Saturday at 3 p.m.

Notes: A moment of silence was held for longtime GVSU football announcer Dick Nelson before tip off. Nelson passed away on Sunday…All four GVSU teams that advanced to the 2014 Division II National Championships Fall Festival were honored at halftime…Junior guard Ernijs Ansons returned to action for the Lakers after missing 10 games.