Sabin lifts GVSU past No. 24 SVSU

GVL/Kevin Sielaff
#20 Ryan Sabin

GVL/Kevin Sielaff

GVL/Kevin Sielaff #20 Ryan Sabin

Jay Bushen

Women’s Box Score – Women’s Standings – Men’s Box Score – Men’s Standings

For the Grand Valley State basketball program, it wasn’t enough to stun rival Saginaw Valley State with a late jump shot and an important, late-season victory on the road.

GVSU did it twice. With the same score.

Senior forward Kat LaPrairie’s baseline jumper with 24 seconds left gave the Laker women a 71-70 win against SVSU in Thursday night’s first game at O’Neil Arena. Then, in the nightcap, senior guard Ryan Sabin mimicked the late-game heroics by sinking a shot with 28 seconds remaining to give the GVSU men a 71-70 upset victory.

“I’m just proud of our guys,” said men’s coach Ric Wesley. “A lot of ups and downs, but as I said last week we’ve got a lot of fight left in us. I’m proud of them. That’s what sports are all about. It teaches you to pick yourself up and keep going. This game could have gone either way but hey, it went our way tonight — put ourselves in position to have a chance.”

With just two regular season contests left on the docket, the women’s team (14-6 GLIAC) improves its chances of hosting a GLIAC Tournament Quarterfinal game. For the Laker men, a loss to SVSU would have snapped a 10-year streak of tournament appearances. 

GVSU (8-12 GLIAC), depending on tiebreakers, still has a chance to earn the final wild-card spot. If the tournament began today, that spot would belong to Hillsdale. The Chargers (10-10) travel to Fieldhouse Arena for a showdown with GVSU on Saturday when LaPrairie, Sabin and their classmates will be honored on senior night.

“We don’t have many games left,” said Sabin, who finished with eight points and four rebounds. “As seniors, to put our teams in position to get wins — it’s great. We’re going to remember these kinds of moments.”

Sabin and Wesley said defensive stops made the difference. SVSU had an eight-point lead with 9:44 to play in the second half, but the Lakers refused to go away.

“It happened so fast,” Wesley said. “We scored, then Luke (Ryskamp) got a steal in our press. They kind of coughed it up, opportunistic I guess. Got the steal and got to the basket; the ball came out. Sabe got it, twisted, turned and put it in.

“Then they got it. We came back, switched defensively and had a defensive stand. Trevin Alexander was on their best player, (Garrett) Hall, their go-to guy, and Trevin did a good job of sealing him off. It was kind of a forced shot.”

The Lakers had to make one more stop before escaping with the win, but they made it happen.

GVSU’s A.J. Hayes finished with a game-high and career-high 19 points in just 21 minutes. Ryskamp had 17 points and four steals, including the key takeaway with time winding down. Ricky Carbajal played through an ankle injury, netting 14 points to go with eight rebounds.

Three Cardinals scored in double figures, as well. Damon Bozeman led the way with 16 points. Hall tallied 14, while standout sophomore C.J. Turnage turned in 12 points and eight boards.

SVSU (20-6, 16-4 GLIAC) falls one game behind Lake Superior State for first place in the North Division standings.