Men’s basketball falls behind early, loses at Ferris State

GVL / Robert Mathews
Senior Mike Przydzial putting the ball up for a layup during a previous game against Hillsdale College

Robert Mathews

GVL / Robert Mathews Senior Mike Przydzial putting the ball up for a layup during a previous game against Hillsdale College

Brady Fredericksen

Coming off its biggest win of the season against Michigan Technological University last weekend, the Grand Valley State University men’s basketball team had the chance to keep its rediscovered winning ways rolling with at rival Ferris State University on Saturday.

That rediscovery was stifled by an early 14-to-4 deficit and a season-high 16 turnovers, hurting the Lakers (10-8, 6-6 GLIAC) in their 65-57 loss to the Bulldogs (11-7, 8-3 GLIAC).

“We started a little slow, and weren’t real sharp early,” said GVSU head coach Ric Wesley, whose team beat Ferris State by one Breland Hogan buzzer beater last season. “We had way too many turnovers, some of them were us going a little too fast, us being jittery or not processing what the defense is doing … Many of our guys have never been in that kind of atmosphere versus Ferris.”

That atmosphere was hostile from the start, as Ferris State jumped out to an early 10-point lead in the first half, holding the Lakers to just four points in the first eight minutes of the game.

“I believe it was all on us, we tried to make a few plays where there was no play to be made,” said junior guard Hogan, who led the Lakers with 13 points and eight rebounds. “We caught ourselves trying to hit the home run every time when we could have just made the extra pass every few times.”

Also hurting the Lakers’ offense was the lack of production from senior center Nick Waddell, who was called for two fouls less than a minute into the first half. Waddell’s absence forced senior Mike Przydzial into 19 first-half minutes, and he made the most of the time, scoring eight points in the half.

“We’ve got to find a way to keep (Waddell) out of foul trouble … We’re trying different things,” Wesley said. “Mike had a strong first half, so I thought we were in pretty good shape there, and in the second half Nick came in and had a few baskets.”

Trailing by 11 at the half, the Lakers came out in the second half and mounted a number of rallies midway through, but Ferris State senior guard Deonte Molden served as the rally killer, draining 3-pointers to stunt a pair of GVSU and extend the lead back to double digits.

Leading the way for Ferris State was junior guard Kenny Brown, who scored 14 of his game-high 18 points in the first half.

“We didn’t do a good job on Kenny Brown, their most explosive scorer, he had a really good fist half,” Wesley said. “He’s a guy who can make tough shots, so its not enough to kind of be around him, but you have to do everything you can to keep him from getting the ball.”

Despite the early deficit, something they were on the other side of against Michigan Tech, the Lakers rallied to cut the lead to six points with under a minute to play after a 3-pointer by senior guard James Thomas, who added 13 points and eight rebounds.

“Coach really got on us about our toughness, really challenged us to be tougher and more physical,” Przydzial said. “When Nick (Waddell) isn’t in there everyone needs to up their intensity, and tonight it seemed like it wasn’t there and everyone wasn’t stepping up to the challenge.”

That was as close as GVSU would get, as Ferris State made their free throws down the stretch, ending the Lakers’ comeback attempt.

The team will wrap up their month-long road trip at Cedarville University on Tuesday before returning home on Thursday to face off against Saginaw Valley State University. Ending the road trip with a win Tuesday would help to get momentum, Przydzial said.

“If we get a little momentum going into those (next) four home games we could be right back up there,” he said. “At this time of the year, anything can happen. We’re not getting down on ourselves, we’re not falling apart — we’re still in this.”

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