Lakers exact revenge on St. Joseph’s

Sophomore guard/forward Tony Peters lays the ball up against St. Josephs College of Indiana Tuesday.

Nicole Lamson

Sophomore guard/forward Tony Peters lays the ball up against St. Joseph’s College of Indiana Tuesday.

Brady Fredericksen

The final memory of the 2009-10 season for the Grand Valley State University men’s basketball team was St. Joseph’s College of Indiana celebrating its 78-76 NCAA Tournament win over the Lakers.

In a game that went into overtime, the Lakers saw their season end at the hands of Pumas guard Phillip Collins, who hit the game-winning lay-up with 1.3 seconds left.

Fast forward to GVSU’s 92-74 win over St. Joseph’s Tuesday at the Fieldhouse Arena, and the Lakers were in a better mood the second time around.

“Coach (Jeff) Bauer played back the game-winner this week and we used that as motivation,” said sophomore guard Tony Peters, who scored 11 points off the bench. “We just wanted to come out and play focused.”

The No. 4 Lakers (3-0) remained unbeaten with the victory.

After the Pumas jumped out to an early 8-1 lead, the Lakers stabilized their defense and began to wear down their opposition with clean offensive execution.

Despite only receiving seven points from senior Justin Ringler and junior James Thomas, the Lakers survived the early run by St. Joseph’s and began a run of their own. GVSU shot 8-of-13 from the field after missing six of its first seven shots.

Combined with the team’s ability to get to the line – the Lakers had 16 free throw attempts – the offensive turnaround sparked a momentum swing before halftime. GVSU forced the visiting Pumas into contested perimeter jumpers, and the Lakers ballooned their lead to 16 heading into the locker room.

“Aggressive teams shoot a lot of free throws and I think we have a lot of aggressive guys, and to St. Joseph’s credit they were pretty aggressive themselves,” said GVSU head coach Ric Wesley. “Both teams were really getting after it.”

The Lakers continued to receive strong efforts from the bench. Peters, senior K’Len Morris (10 points) and junior Nick Waddell (12 points) proved important as the GVSU reserves outscored St. Joseph’s bench 46-15.

Waddell’s play in particular put pressure on the undersized Pumas. The 6-foot-6, 285-pound junior transfer went to work in the post, grabbing three offensive rebounds and drawing four fouls on put-backs and post moves.

“The rotations that coach has are working well for us so far.” said Waddell, who added a season-high seven rebounds. “I trust my teammates, so I just want to go out there and give it my all.”

The Lakers will next be in action Nov. 27 on the road against Northern Kentucky University.

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