GVSU men’s hoops splits two-game road trip

GVL/Luke Holmes - Myles Miller (12) jumps up for the shot as Grand Valley had squares off againt Lake Superior State on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2016 in Allendale.

Luke Holmes

GVL/Luke Holmes – Myles Miller (12) jumps up for the shot as Grand Valley had squares off againt Lake Superior State on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2016 in Allendale.

Beau Troutman

The Grand Valley State men’s basketball team continued its brutal January slate, splitting a two-game road trip this past weekend. The Lakers started the weekend with a 93-78 victory over the Northwood Timberwolves Thursday, Jan. 12, but ended with a 99-78 loss to Lake Superior State Saturday, Jan. 14 in the Upper Peninsula.

The Lakers (10-6, 6-3 GLIAC) are now in a five-way tie for second place in the conference with LSSU, Findlay, Wayne State and Michigan Tech. The upcoming stretch of games will prove crucial for the Lakers, as they will play five games between Jan. 19-Jan. 30. All five of those opponents are in the GLIAC North with the Lakers.

“At the end of the year, the teams that are going to be at the top directly correlate to their mental and physical toughness,” said GVSU coach Ric Wesley. “The ones that are the toughest are the ones that are going to get through that and find a way to deal with it. The ones who make excuses and feel sorry for themselves are the ones who will move toward the bottom.”

In the win over Northwood, all five GVSU starters scored in double figures: Senior forward Trevin Alexander (career-high 21 points), junior point guard Myles Miller (career-high 19), senior forward Luke Ryskamp (19), sophomore center Justin Greason (13) and senior forward Juwan Starks (10). Those five accounted for 88 percent of the team’s offensive output.

The Lakers shot a season-best 64.9 percent from the field on a night that saw them also eclipse their highest single-game point total. The Lakers dominated in hustle plays, and outscored the Timberwolves 46-18 in the paint and 11-0 in fast break points. Greason set a career-high in blocks (four) while Miller did the same in steals (four) and assists (seven).

Wesley said Miller, who’s in his first season running the point, has done a nice job leading the Laker offense.

“Thursday it really all came together for (Miller),” Wesley said. “We need that kind of consistent play out of tht position. As you look at our league, the top teams have outstanding players at that position.”

Miller is averaging 6.5 points-per-game this season and leads the team with 53 assists.

While the starters all achieved double-figure scoring in the first game, they did the opposite against LSSU. Not a single member of the starting rotation went over 10 points, and the group as a whole combined for 17 total points on 10-of-29 shooting (20 percent). In comparison, LSSU’s Akaemji Williams had 23 points and 12 assists, and Blake Marquardt added 22 points.

Though Ryskamp said there are no excuses for the team’s performance Saturday, he acknowledged it is tough to prepare for an Upper Peninsula game in two days on the road.

“After you come off a good win, you’re feeling pretty good, you’re not really thinking about the Saturday game quite yet,” Ryskamp said. “But then you wake up Friday morning, and you’ve got practice, you’re a little bit sore and you’ve got stuff you’ve got to get over.

“Winning or losing, we’ve got to come in with the mindset that if we’re going to be warriors, then we’ve got to refuse to lose.”

The Lakers’ bench players found success though, as Drake Baar led the team with 22 points with six boards. Drake Baar had 15 points and Chris Dorsey had 11 points with five assists.

The toughest part of the January stretch will begin this weekend with a two-game home-series. The Lakers play Wayne State Thursday, Jan. 19 and then Saginaw Valley State Saturday, Jan. 21.