Findlay ends GVSU’s win streak at four games

GVL/Kevin Sielaff
#20 Ryan Sabin

GVL / Kevin Sielaff

GVL/Kevin Sielaff #20 Ryan Sabin

Jay Bushen

The Grand Valley State men’s basketball team is having a hard time finding its rhythm on the road. Inconsistent lineups and the injury bug may have a lot to do with it.

GVSU (7-5, 3-3 GLIAC) suffered a 75-67 setback at Findlay (5-5, 2-4) on Sunday after struggling to connect from long range. Both teams launched 21 3-pointers in the contest: Findlay knocked down 10 (47.6 percent); GVSU made four (19.0).

“We just didn’t play quite good enough for the most part,” said GVSU coach Ric Wesley. “Pretty good effort against a team with their back against the wall – but a team that has a great tradition and was really focused and ready to play. I just didn’t think we played good enough. We had some defensive breakdowns in the second half with the game on the line.

“Some of their secondary-type players beat us.”

Both teams had four players score in double figures. GVSU’s usual suspects, Ryan Sabin and Ricky Carbajal, scored 16 points apiece while sophomores Trevin Alexander and Luke Ryskamp both chipped in with 11. Alexander also pulled down a game-high nine rebounds.

Alexander, who ranks second in the GLIAC with 8.1 rebounds per game and first with 40 offensive rebounds, has played a key role in the absence of senior forward Chaz Rollins. Rollins, GVSU’s leading rebounder in 2013, has missed nine straight games with an injury.

“Chaz has had an ongoing ankle/foot issue really since last summer,” Wesley said. “He worked his way back, got back in practice but had an issue with a stress reaction in his foot. At this point we’re considering holding him out for the season.”

Injuries have also been a factor in the backcourt, as seven different guards have started games for the Lakers this season. Junior point guard Aaron Hayes, who battled a nagging hamstring injury in the preseason, injured his other hamstring in practice on Wednesday.

Freshman guard Myles Miller has started five straight games.

“We’re pretty interchangeable,” Sabin said. “When one guy goes out and another comes in – that’s not an issue. It’s a big advantage. … The season still goes on no matter who plays. Whoever’s next in line will step up, and we’re confident in that.”

Sabin has scored in double figures in 10 of 12 games this season, and inked his name in the GVSU record books Sunday by becoming the 32nd Laker to score 1,000 career points.

“It was one of my goals coming in, so it was nice to get it over with,” Sabin said. “I think in high school I had 998 points so I really wanted to get it in college.”

The senior leader’s steady offensive presence has been good enough for 13.8 points per game this season, second only to Carbajal’s mark of 14.6. Carbajal, who played through a heel injury at Findlay, said the team plans to refocus after the tough road loss.

“Our lineups have been crazy,” he said. “It’s almost a new lineup every other game – so you just have to trust each other, be there for each other, listen to the coach, play tough and play with passion. We just have to feed off each other’s energy.

“The road games are the toughest ones.”

The team, which is 4-0 at home this season, returns to Fieldhouse Arena this week for a pair of GLIAC games against Walsh (Thursday at 8 p.m.) and Malone (Saturday at 3 p.m.).