GVSU men get back to their winning ways

GVL / Eric Coulter

Breland Hogan (1) drives the baseline against the Malone defender.

Eric Coulter

GVL / Eric Coulter Breland Hogan (1) drives the baseline against the Malone defender.

Bryce Derouin

After losing consecutive games for the first time this year, the Grand Valley State men’s basketball team found themselves with their backs against the wall. However, a balanced scoring attack, along with a dominating inside presence had GVSU (9-3, 6-2 GLIAC) back to their winning ways, with a 78-63 victory over Malone University (6-5, 4-4 GLIAC).

Sophomore Ryan Sabin was one of seven Lakers to score at least eight points. Sabin tallied 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

“I just tried to be aggressive today,” Sabin said. “That really helped out a lot. Balanced threes and take it to the hole and free throw line. I didn’t want to be one-dimensional.”

The Lakers dominated the boards and the inside scoring on their way to the victory. GVSU held a 38-33 rebounding advantage, including 14 offensive rebounds in the game, 12 of which came in the first half.

“We haven’t been a good rebounding team either way,” said head coach Ric Wesley. “We’re really trying to put some more emphasis on it. I thought Tyrone Lee and Ryan Sabin in particular made a pretty consistent effort to go in there and keep balls alive.”

GVSU also held a 38-8 scoring advantage in the paint. The easy baskets helped the Lakers on their way to shooting 50 percent for the game, while holding Malone to a pedestrian 34 percent from the field.

“It was very important because they were a little bit undersized and we got probably two, maybe three of the best bigs in the conference,” said senior Tyrone Lee about their advantage down low. “So we got to take advantage of that at all times so it shows in the stats.”

Lee added eight points and also led the Lakers with eight rebounds.

The win was the first for GVSU after two straight losses. The Lakers dropped a 64-60 decision to the University of Findlay over Christmas break and their latest loss was an 83-79 defeat on Thursday at the hands of Walsh University, which was the first loss at home for the Lakers.

“It was super tough game,” Wesley said. “I thought they (Walsh University) played great. I think they’re a good team. They’ve shown that on a given night they can be as good as anybody in our league.”

Senior Tony Peters led the Lakers with a career-high 17 points off the bench, including five threes. His fifth three would give the Lakers a 77-76 advantage with 1:20 left, but Walsh would outscore GVSU 7-2 down the stretch to secure the victory.

“We made a couple of defensive mistakes late in the game and I think that it will be more ingrained in our mind next time because it didn’t work out,” Wesley said. “Hopefully it will be a learning thing for us, but the bottom line is if you want to stay in the race you can’t lose games.”

The Lakers will return to action on Thursday when they host Northern Michigan University.

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