GVSU men’s basketball drops road contests to Wayne State, Saginaw Valley State

GVL / Luke Holmes - Chris Dorsey (14) protects the ball from the defender. GVSU Men’s Basketball lost to Ferris State University on Monday, Jan. 30, 2016.

Luke Holmes

GVL / Luke Holmes – Chris Dorsey (14) protects the ball from the defender. GVSU Men’s Basketball lost to Ferris State University on Monday, Jan. 30, 2016.

Beau Troutman

It was a long bus ride home for the Grand Valley State men’s basketball team, which is in the midst of a three-game losing streak after a 65-62 loss to the Wayne State Warriors Thursday, Feb. 2 followed by a 64-42 defeat to the rival Saginaw Valley State Cardinals.

“We’ve got two of our last three games where we didn’t compete,” said GVSU coach Ric Wesley. “As a competitor, as an athlete, that’s just unacceptable. We’ll put our heads together as a coaching staff and continue to challenge our guys.

“This recent lack of toughness is really concerning.”

The two games end a stretch that saw the Lakers (13-10, 9-7 GLIAC) play five games in 10 days, four of which were on the road including two games that were played in the Upper Peninsula. The Lakers went 1-4 during that span, dropping them from tied for second in the GLIAC to a three-way tie for fifth place.

In the first game against the Warriors, the Lakers had an opportunity to send the game to overtime.

GVSU junior forward Chris Dorsey—who started his first two games this season in place of point guard Myles Miller—sank two free throws to make it 65-62 Warriors with just eight seconds left remaining in the game. On the ensuing inbounds play, Miller fouled the Warriors’ Michael Lewis, who went to the line with six seconds left in the double bonus.

Lewis, a 67 percent free throw shooter this season, missed the first throw, and then the second, keeping it a three-point game and giving the Lakers one last shot at redemption. GVSU got the ball into the hands of senior and leading scorer Luke Ryskamp with one second on the clock—but the shot was contested and grazed the net, sealing the WSU win.

“I got a good look off, but it fell short, that was the game,” Ryskamp said. “That game could have went either way, too. It definitely didn’t help our confidence after that one.”

The Lakers shot just 1-of-12 from the three-point line on the night. Dorsey led the Lakers with 17 points (13 in the first half) and four assists, senior forward Trevin Alexander had 16 points and Ryskamp finished with 13.

“I’m more disappointed than anything else that we couldn’t get it done on a night where I thought our effort really wasn’t bad,” Wesley said.

In the second game against the Cardinals, both teams struggled shooting the ball in the first half, and the Lakers trailed a manageable six points at the break at 25-19.

The Cardinal offense woke up in the second half, but the Lakers’ did not. SVSU shot 46.4 percent from the field in the second half and 9-of-12 from the charity strike. In total, the Cardinals outscored the Lakers 39-23 in the second half.

For the game, the Lakers shot only 31.7 percent from the field (19-of-60) and 3-of-14 from behind the arc. Interestingly, the Lakers attempted only four free throws, making one. Only two players scored in double figures—Miller with 12 points and Dorsey with 10. Miller’s 12 points all came in the second half, accounting for more than half the team’s scoring in that half.

“Really, I’m kind of beyond disappointed,” Wesley said. “A little angry with our team that we could not generate any greater effort. There’s no real excuses. I just didn’t really think we brought it.I can accept losing if I feel like we gave it our best shot, but that was not our  best shot in any way, shape or form, on a lot of levels. 

“It was kind of pathetic to be honest with you.”

Though Ryskamp only had four points on the night, it was enough to move him to 20th place all time on the GVSU scoring list with 1,226 career points, passing Courtney James.

“It is a cool thing but right now it doesn’t even matter,” Ryskamp said. “It’s hard to think about that right now because of the position we’re in.”

Next up, the Lakers will return home and face the Northwood Timberwolves (5-20, 3-13) Thursday, Feb. 9 and then Lake Superior State (13-7, 10-6) Saturday, Feb. 11. The Lakers have five games left on the schedule, four of which are at home.

“It’s my job, Trevin’s job, (senior Juwan Starks’) job to get the team back on track, build confidence. These next four home games are big for us, we’ve got to go out and play the way we know we’re capable of playing.”