Lakers cruise to 94-51 season-opening win

GVL/ Rane Martin
Lakers Vs University of Michigan-Dearborn

Rane Martin

GVL/ Rane Martin Lakers Vs University of Michigan-Dearborn

Brady Fredericksen

The shots seemed like they were dropping from the moment they tipped off as the Grand Valley State University basketball team shot their way to a commanding 94-51 season-opening victory over the University of Michigan-Dearborn on Wednesday.

GVSU’s (1-0) win was their 13th-straight season-opening win, and thanks to 11 first-half three pointers, the Lakers buried the visiting Wolves (0-6), who scored only 19 points in the first half.

“I think we just came out, played hard, and the shots were dropping,” said senior guard James Thomas, who scored a team-high 21 points. “We just try to get the hot man shots, and when shots are dropping like that it’s hard to lose confidence. When you gain confidence like that it’s just easy for the ball to go in.”

While Thomas led the Lakers in scoring, it was a team effort on the floor. Junior point guard Breland Hogan finished with 10 points and four assists, while junior guard Tony Peters scored 14 points off the bench.

A staple of GVSU teams is the play of their bench, and that was no different against the Wolves as the Lakers’ bench scored 45 points – just six fewer than the entire opposing roster.

Leading that charge was freshman Ben Lanning. The six-foot-eight forward came out firing, knocking down 3-of-5 three pointers to finish with 18 points and four rebounds in his first collegiate action.

“I was a little bit nervous, but then I just stopped thinking about it, just ignored it and went out there and played my best,” Lanning said. “I’m just going to keep shooting the ball, keep my confidence up, and keep going from this game to go out there and do the same thing.”
Playing without the services of senior center Nick Waddell, out with a concussion, the GVSU drew even on the boards with Michigan-Dearborn at 3.

However, they made up for the rebounding with their defensive pressure, scoring 33 points on 21 Michigan-Dearborn turnovers.

“They‘re a small team, they really like to dribble drive, and I thought we really executed our switches and kept our defense tight,” said GVSU head coach Ric Wesley. “Early in the season, every competitive experience you have helps you … I just think the experience helps you gain confidence. Our execution, our feel, our chemistry, our sync was all better just for having played another game.”

The Lakers will return to the Fieldhouse Arena court on Saturday as they take on defending Division II national champion and top-ranked Bellarmine University at 3 p.m.

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