GVSU men’s basketball trounces Purdue Northwest 107-65

GVL / Spencer Scarber 
GVSU Mens Baskeball vs Purdue Northwest on Saturday January 27, 2018.

GVL / Spencer Scarber GVSU Men’s Baskeball vs Purdue Northwest on Saturday January 27, 2018.

Robbie Triano

Six minutes into their contest with the Pride of Purdue Northwest (1-18 overall, 1-10 GLIAC), the Grand Valley State men’s basketball team found themselves tied at 11 heading into a timeout against the lowest-ranked team in the conference. 

But in the words of senior guard Myles Miller, GVSU sharpshooter Ben Lubitz simply “got hot, man!”

Miller’s statement came after the sophomore hit five consecutive 3-pointers in the first half, sparking the Laker offense over the hump to never looking back. By the final buzzer, GVSU had beaten the Pride 107-65 on Alumni/Kids Day on Saturday, Jan. 27, at the GVSU Fieldhouse. 

With each 3-pointer Lubitz made, more excitement burst from the Laker players, bench and siblings in attendance. Lubitz finished the game with 18 total points, all coming from his six 3-pointers. 

“When you finally get your shot down, it looks like the rim gets a whole lot bigger,” Lubitz said. “That’s the special thing about our team: If we see someone is hot, we know you gotta give them the ball. At that point, you just realize that’s going to be your source of offense until the next guy gets hot.”

The win was the most total points GVSU has scored this season, along with their greatest margin of victory (42 points). Most of their offense came from their unselfishness with the ball, racking up 23 assists, compared to Purdue Northwest’s seven.

That unselfishness also led to the Lakers having six players score double-digits, including a gritty performance by freshman Jake Van Tubbergen, who earned himself a double-double (14 points, 12 rebounds). Other double-digit scorers were Chris Dorsey (15 points), Drake Baar (14), Chris Pearl (11) and Hunter Hale (10). 

“We are just pretty hard to scout because we have so many offensive weapons,” Lubitz said. “You could possibly shut down one of our players, but we have other guys who are capable of elevating their game on command.”

With the Lakers up 51-25 heading into halftime, GVSU head coach Ric Wesley finally had the flexibility to rest his top talent for those who don’t see that many minutes. The reserves answered the call, as GVSU tallied 54 points from players off the bench.

“After Ben Lubitz got on fire and broke open dam, I was happy to see our guys come out and play with a whole lot of spirit,” Wesley said. 

One player who saw his minutes greatly increase was freshman Brett Lauf, who filled in 23 minutes at point-guard position for Miller. Although Miller started the game, coach Wesley only played him four minutes after he dealt with flu-like symptoms heading into the contest. Lauf tallied 6 points, five rebounds and three assists.

“(Lauf) is past the point of being a pleasant surprise,” Wesley said. “Now, he actually has expectations to be in there and get the job done. For the most part, he filled in that role well.”

Besides the final score, this game had a bigger meaning than just another GLIAC contest. Wesley, and his other two assistant coaches, were all donned with tan athletic shoes in support of “Coaches vs. Cancer Week.” 

“Cancer is something that almost every person has been affected with in some shape or form,” Wesley said. “We just want to bring it to light and show support for all those fighting the illness.”

With four weekends of regular-season basketball left, all of their remaining games will be against top GLIAC opponents. Two of those contests will be next weekend against Michigan Tech on Thursday, Feb. 1, and Northern Michigan on Saturday, Feb. 3, both games on the road.