GVL / Robert Mathews
Senior center Nick Waddell gets above his opponent for the shoot during Saturdays game against Rochester College.

Robert Mathews

GVL / Robert Mathews Senior center Nick Waddell gets above his opponent for the shoot during Saturday’s game against Rochester College.

Brady Fredericksen

On the day Grand Valley State University dubbed Jet’s as Allendale’s top pizza, the men’s basketball team proved they were the top basketball team in Allendale on Saturday, staving off persistent Rochester College, 65-53.

Trailing for the majority of the first half, the Lakers (5-2, 1-1 GLIAC) were led by 21 points and 11 rebounds from senior center Nick Waddell, who scored 13 of those points in the first half.

Coming off their first road loss of the season, a 66-44 decision at Northwood University, the Lakers did what they failed to do in the previous game: score in the second half.

Shooting only 17.4 percent from the field against Northwood, the Lakers got their offense going early and often in the second half, shooting 48.3 percent and out-scoring Rochester (9-5) 34-28.

“Rochester has a very good team … I think you have to give them credit and I thought they played well,” said GVSU head coach Ric Wesley. “I thought it was just one of those grind-it-out kind of games. They weren’t scoring much, we weren’t scoring much, so in some ways I was encouraged by our ability to concentrate and defend.”

Along with Waddell’s scoring, GVSU saw senior guard James Thomas chip in with 14 points and six rebounds after having only five points at the intermission.

“We were really just focused on defense this game,” Thomas said. “Even if our offense isn‘t going as planned, if our defense is good then we can still stay I the game. We were really just focused on keeping our defensive intensity up and getting stops.”

Thanks in large part to the play of Waddell, who recorded his second double-double in his last three games, GVSU owned the paint. The Lakers out-scored Rochester 34-16 inside on a night when their normally efficient 3-point shooting wasn’t there, as the finished the game only 5-of-17 from deep.

Forcing Rochester into 19 turnovers, the Lakers’ defense played well in the second half after allowing
the Warriors to shoot 50 percent from the field in the first, including 5-of-10 from 3-point range.

“That’s one thing that we go hard on in practice,” Waddell said. “Coach likes that, we take numbers
on deflections and stuff like that. We play hard on defense, and deflections equal turnovers and fast breaks and that’s what we like to do.”

The team will now have a break for exams before getting back to action on Sunday against Northern Michigan at Fieldhouse Arena.
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