Backcourt duo fuels GVSU past Hope

GVL / Robert Mathews
Sophomore Ricardo Carbajal

GVL / Robert Mathews Sophomore Ricardo Carbajal

Jay Bushen

There was more than enough offense to go around at the Fieldhouse Arena when a pair of local teams collided for an entertaining game of exhibition hoops.

The Grand Valley State University men’s basketball team bounced back from a 101-52 loss at Michigan State University by taking down Hope College 90-84 at home on Thursday night to close out its exhibition schedule.

“We were happy to have another opportunity to have a practice game,” GVSU head coach Ric Wesley said. “We’ve had three of them, and I don’t think we performed very well in the first two. We saw some positives, and I thought offensively we did some good things. Sabin and Woodson were tremendous.”

It didn’t take junior guard Ryan Sabin long to show why he was tabbed as a preseason All-GLIAC North Division First Team selection.

The Byron Center, Mich., native drained a three on the team’s first possession and followed it up with a pull-up jumper on the next trip down the court. He finished with a game-high 23 points to go with five boards and two assists.

“My mindset was to attack,” Sabin said. “Usually I’m a shooter, but there were some lanes out there and I started to take advantage of them. I don’t like to be one dimensional; I like to attack and shoot.”

The Lakers found some space in the lane after Hope’s 6-foot-11 senior center Nate VanArendonk got into foul trouble early on.

GVSU took advantage and went on to out-score Hope 50-16 in the paint. The Lakers dictated the pace of the game but failed to run away with it.

The NCAA Division III team’s three-point shooters were a key reason why.

The Hope shooters were feeling it from beyond the arc, connecting on six of 10 threes in the first half. They finished the game with 12 overall.

“We’re not going to win many games giving up that many points,” Sabin said. “We have to know where people are going to be, where the help side is. That comes with experience, but as a collective group, we’ve got to play better.”

The visiting team was hoping for a late rally in the second half and managed to cut the GVSU lead to six with less than five minutes to play—then GVSU delivered the dagger.

The shot clock expired as senior point guard Rob Woodson buried a three with 4:21 to play, and the Lakers held on for a six-point victory.

“We needed something big right there to slow down their momentum,” Woodson said. “That shot really gave us a boost to finish out the game and slow up their run.”

The speedy point guard propelled the Laker offense to the tune of 18 points, a game-high eight boards, two assists and two steals.

He said the team benefited from the play of freshman forward Trevin Alexander, who came up big despite playing just 19 minutes. He finished the game with 14 points and seven rebounds.

Sophomore forward Ricardo Carbajal also chipped in with 13 points.

The team begins its 2013-2014 regular season tonight at the Fieldhouse Arena against Olivet College at 7 p.m.

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