GVSU ‘Sawyers’ pick up key wins against Northern, Michigan Tech

Mens Basketball 2-23-19. Dan Pacheco/GVL

Mens Basketball 2-23-19. Dan Pacheco/GVL

Kellen Voss

The Grand Valley State men’s basketball picked the perfect time of year to start playing their best brand of basketball, as after previously losing to Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech this season, they dominated at the Fieldhouse Arena, beating Northern 85-62 on Thursday, Feb. 21 before beating Michigan Tech 71-53 on Saturday, Feb. 23.

After what’s been a bit of a roller coaster season, the Lakers came back home for some dominant wins this week, as they didn’t trail at any point in either of the two wins.

Thursday’s win saw the Lakers start off the game on a 7-0 and never look back, as four Lakers scored in double digits, with Hunter Hale (23 points), Jake Van Tubbergen (18), Jeremiah Ferguson (13) and Isaiah Brock (12) all able to find the bottom of the net more than a few times.

Being that it was Military Appreciation night at the Fieldhouse Arena, Thursday’s game was especially fulfilling for Brock, a veteran who served for years with the Army taking multiple tours in Afghanistan.

“I had a lot of friends in the stands that are fellow vets, and I figured I was just going to give them a show,” Brock said. “I appreciate them all showing up, and I appreciate GVSU for setting up the whole event.”

Brock wasn’t the only one celebrating on Thursday, as head coach Ric Wesley earned his 300th win as the head honcho at GVSU. Wesley wanted to credit all his former players, coaches and everyone at GVSU involved in the success the program has seen in his 15-year tenure, and a little motivation to win on Thursday.

“In 15 years, we’ve had some amazing guys come through this program, and I’ve had great guys helping me out along the way,” Wesley said. “It feels good, but I look it as more of a program thing that we can all share. It takes a lot of people to get to where we are, and my dad’s in the hospital, so I just wanted to get a win to make him feel better tonight.”

GVSU kept the dominant play rolling into Saturday, as despite them transforming into the Sawyers, their improved defense remained stout. The Sawyers held Michigan Tech to 20 points in the first half, as the Huskies only shot 33.9 percent from the field all day.

The scoring was spread out, as Hale led the way with 14 points with Justin Greason, Ferguson and Van Tubbergen all reaching double digits. Hale, who also had seven steals in the game, emphasized how important it is for GVSU to remain a defensive force down the stretch.

“We’re coming down to the final stretch and we’re about to start the GLIAC tournament,” Hale said. “We got to set the tone with our defense because our offense will come when our defense is great.”

After the successful week, GVSU improves to 16-11 on the season, as they are above .500 in the GLIAC (10-9) and have won the past four. Wesley and the team hope that they can continue to play quality basketball as the season draws to a close.

“It’s always about how you finish. We had our bumps along the way, and we’re hoping to be one of those teams that catches fire and makes something special,” Wesley said. “Our guys have a lot of fight and determination, we got a tough one coming up against Davenport, but I’m proud of how the guys have continued to fight, because we’ve given ourselves a chance for this type of success to happen.”

GVSU will host Davenport on Thursday, Feb. 28, for their final home game of the season. The matchup with the Panthers tips off at 8 p.m., with the GLIAC tournament scheduled to start the following Tuesday.