GVSU Men’s Basketball loses to Ashland, beats Wayne State in split weekend
By Kellen Voss ([email protected])
The Grand Valley State men’s basketball team split their GLIAC matchups at the GVSU Fieldhouse Arena this weekend, losing to Ashland on Thursday, Dec. 6, 74-63, before coming back to beat Wayne State on Saturday, Dec. 8, thrashing the Warriors 95-62.
While GVSU had won their first two GLIAC matchups, the third time happened to not be the charm, with Ashland using balanced offensive scoring and solid shooting to defeat the Lakers on Thursday.
Despite the Eagles not having a dominant shooting night (46.3 percent from the field and 34.5 percent from three), the Lakers could not do any better, shooting a mere 35.1 percent from the field and failing to convert 30 percent of their three point attempts.
“We struggled offensively all night long,” said head coach Ric Wesley. “To do that against a good team like Ashland and you don’t have a chance to win.”
GVSU’s shooting woes continued all night long, as the Lakers missed ten free throws in a game that they lost by eleven points. Wesley harped on that post-game, saying his team needs to improve from the stripe in future GLIAC games.
“In a game where we’re struggling to score, it certainly doesn’t help if we don’t make our free throws,” Wesley said. “That compounded our problems certainly, as we had come out and shot well from (the free throw line) but we missed ten big ones and the front end of a few one-and-ones.”
Despite the shooting woes on Thursday, the Lakers were able to play much better 48 hours later, as they were able to destroy the Wayne State Warriors.
GVSU out-hustled Wayne State, hounding them on defense with twelve blocks to go with twelve steals. Justin Greason and Kindred Williams each posted four blocks in the contest.
Even though the Lakers ultimately won more than 30, they started the game off slow, falling behind 12-3 six minutes into the game. Despite this lackadaisical start, Greason came off the bench and dominated in the paint, making his first five shots and scoring 11 points in that half to help spark the offense and help to a 44-25 first half lead.
GVSU shot the ball well to make up for their shooting woes on Thursday, shooting 54.2 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from three, with Hunter Hale leading the team with 19 points in the victory.
“I’m very happy with our effort tonight,” Wesley said. “Our focus was great, we had better ball movement and found the open man better to get better shots.”
Basketball teams always play better when they have a person to play for, and that was exactly the case on Saturday. The players in warm-ups as well as the coaches donned light blue shirts to honor the late Melissa Modderman, who lost a hard-fought battle to cancer on Friday.
Modderman and her family meant a lot to GVSU’s basketball program, and Wesley was more than happy to dedicate the massive win to her.
“I’m happy to end the week on a positive note, I was very proud of our effort, especially on a night where we tried to honor (Modderman),” Wesley said. “Her family, her husband and herself have been a big part of our program for years. We may have lost her yesterday, but this win was for her.”
Following the split weekend, GVSU improves to 7-2 on the year, posting a 3-1 record in the GLIAC.
Before heading home for the holidays, GVSU looks to pick up two more wins this weekend, as they travel to Quincy, Ill., to face McKendree and Quincy in the Subway Invitational. They’ll play McKendree at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15 before facing Quincy at 3:15 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 16.