Bench helps Lakers to Thanksgiving weekend victory over Marygrove

GVL/ Rane Martin
Junior Breland Hogan guards the opponents offense

Rane Martin

GVL/ Rane Martin Junior Breland Hogan guards the opponents offense

Brady Fredericksen

Coming off a 70-67 loss to No. 1 Bellarmine University last weekend, the Lakers (2-1) stuffed Marygrove College (3-6) like a Thanksgiving turkey Saturday, winning 82-60.

“This is our last game here for awhile, so to get this win here at home is big,” said freshman forward Ben Lanning, who tallied 17 points and eight rebounds off of the bench. “I think we came out lackadaisical, we had a few days off here, but we just refocused and just started playing harder.”

Helped by 19 points from senior guard James Thomas, the Lakers — who scored a season-high 109 points and made 11 3-pointers in last season’s matchup — used 10 3-pointers to take out the pesky Mustangs, who trailed by only 11 points at halftime.

“We had a good week of practice, but I just think their team played pretty well and we didn’t execute real well,” said GVSU head coach Ric Wesley. “We were a little too quick to shoot offensively, and we were slow in getting back and getting our defense set.”

Despite Thomas’ hot start, he and the Lakers fell into a daze as the half progressed.

His 4-of-5 early-game showing turned for the worst when he missed his next six shots, and the Lakers’ 18-point lead slipped down to just nine points toward the end of the half.

As they cooled, Marygrove heated up. Senior forward Omar Thomas led the way for the Mustangs, scoring 22 points and pulling down 11 rebounds, while teammate Marcus Hopkins put together an 18-point outing.

The duo combined for 26 of Marygrove’s 28 first-half points.

“We weren’t surprised — those were the guys we had talked about in our scouting report,” Wesley said. “Defensively, I don’t know if there’s one guy I can point to as that one, lockdown defender. That’s something we’re going to have to develop either individually or as a team.”

Despite the first-half struggles, the Lakers shook off the Mustangs in the second half, out-scoring them 43-32 thanks to 41 points from the bench.

Junior forward Tony Peters added 14 points, Lanning finished with 17 points and eight rebounds and junior forward Tyrone Lee finished with six rebounds and three blocked shots.

“I thought in some ways our bench was pretty good defensively,” Wesley said. “Tyrone in particular did a really good job defensively. He got some steals, got some blocks and was really a presence.”

Coming off a victory, the Lakers will open their GLIAC season with their next three games on the road, starting with a matchup against Ohio Dominican University at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

“I don’t think, personally, we played as good as we were capable of,” Thomas said. “We do have a lot of new people on the team, so they’re going to have to get a feel for the road and how the atmosphere is, and it should happen in that first game.”

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