GVSU men’s basketball picks up two key GLIAC wins, beating SVSU and Northwood

<p>GVL / Sheila Babbitt</p>

GVL / Sheila Babbitt

Kellen Voss

After previously losing their last three games, the Grand Valley State men’s basketball team returned to the Fieldhouse Arena and snapped their skid this week, picking up a win against on Thursday, Jan. 10 against Saginaw Valley State 85-78 before beating Northwood two days later 73-60.

The wins helped the Lakers boost to 11-5 on the season, as well as 5-3 in the GLIAC.

Improved ball movement on the offensive end, along with a few more made threes than usual for the Lakers, helped GVSU earn their tenth win of the season, as they beat SVSU.

This Laker victory was fueled by a 19-4 run by GVSU that was kicked off by back-to-back threes from sharpshooter Demetrius Lake. Coach Ric Wesley was happy to see the offense click in that first half for as long as it did.

“Every game is going to have some runs, you just hope to have more than the other team,” Wesley said. “We’ve been pretty explosive, but a lot of times after that happens, we have a let-down. Wish we could have kept it going, but they’re a solid team.”

Strong shooting from three was a theme for the first half of Thursday’s game, as both teams combined to make 15 threes in the opening 20 minutes. Five of those 15 came from Hunter Hale, who had a game-high 25 points while also tallying four rebounds and four assists. Hale’s energy in the contest was contagious and the rest of his teammates were able to feed off of it in key stretches.

“We’re always cheering for each other out there, and it always brings our energy up,” Hale said. “We’re a family at the end of the day, so we’re always out there playing hard for one another, because that fuels our fire.”

As contagious as that energy was in Thursday’s game, Saturday’s contest against Northwood saw the Laker offense slow down, as even though they shot over 50 percent in the half, they were still trailing the Timberwolves after the first half.

The Lakers woke up heading into the second, as an alley-oop from Hale to Isaiah Brock help kickstart the GVSU offense, outscoring Northwood by 14 points in that second half to beat NU on Saturday, January 12. The Timberwolves haven’t won a game in Allendale since 2012.

Solid defense is a good recipe for success, and 10 blocks to go along with five steals meant the Lakers stayed focused against NU’s offense. Brock, who had five of those blocks, has been an anchor for the defense all season long, deflecting shots as incoming offenses feel the wrath of the former Oakland Golden Grizzly.

“It’s really important that I affect as many shots as I can, people are going to get beat, it happens,” Brock said. “That’s what I’m there for, I’m just doing what I’m good at and what I’m capable of.”

Picking up the two conference wins was pivotal in such an even conference.

“Every game is important, and to be a factor, you have to win a fair amount of your home games,” Wesley said. “It’s a bit of a cliché, but when you look at the balance and parity in our league, it’s obvious you got to scrap and claw and get every win that you can.”

GVSU will travel to face two more GLIAC foes this week, heading up north to play Michigan Tech on Thursday, Jan. 17, before facing Northern Michigan on Saturday, Jan. 19. Thursday’s game tips off at 7:30 p.m., while Saturday’s game starts at 3:00 p.m.