GVSU Basketball improves to 13-2, Van Tubbergen scores 1,000th point as Laker


Courtesy / GVSU Lakers

Kellen Voss, Sports Editor

History was made on Saturday night at the Matthaei Building in Detroit, Michigan, as with just under 10 minutes to go, junior Jake Van Tubbergen scored his 17th and 18th points of the game on an and-one layup to earn 1,000 points total while donning a Grand Valley State Laker uniform. The following made free throw helped the Holland, Michigan, native pass the century mark.

That key lay-up was a small part of the showcase Van Tubbergen put on against the Wayne State Warriors, as he led his 18th-ranked squad with 23 points and 13 rebounds while cementing his status as a Laker legend.

“(Van Tubbergen) has been a good performer right from day one,” said GVSU coach Rick Wesley regarding Van Tubbergen. “It took him a while to get into it his freshman year with his injury, but once he got going, he was the (Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) Freshman of the Year. He’s been a very good player, and it’s been fun to watch get in the weight room, and his ability now to be more consistent to take the hits and the grind of the GLIAC, that’s what’s worth reporting.”

After Saturday’s win and Thursday’s 69-63 road win over the Ashland Eagles, the No. 18 GVSU basketball team improved to 13-2 overall and 6-1 in the GLIAC, as they remain at the top of the South division in the conference. Much like Big Ten football and basketball, no road game in conference can be taken for granted, and Wesley is proud of his squad for finishing strong in these games.

“They were similar (performances) — we had really good stretches in both games, but we had some bad stretches too” Wesley said. “I don’t know that either (game) was a thing of beauty, but GLIAC basketball can be that way.”

Courtesy / Ashley Cefali

One big key to both these road victories is the return of senior point guard Jeremiah Ferguson to the starting lineup, as the former Youngstown State Penguin combined for 30 points in 44 minutes. While the point guard is still playing limited minutes while nursing his lower leg injury, Wesley loves the layers that Ferguson can add to the Laker’s offense.

“Anytime you add a good player, it helps,” Wesley said. “He’s a good finisher for us — his ability to be aggressive with defenses off the dribble really puts a lot of pressure on the other teams. It’s good to have him back, but the whole team is still a work in progress. We have to continue to work hard defensively, which has kind of been our Achilles’ Heel.”

Wesley loved the bench contributions he got this week, speaking highly of junior John Slater, junior Steven Lloyd and freshman Marius Grazulis for the spark they all provided. In order for the squad to improve, Wesley wants to see those bench contributions become more consistent.

“We play a lot of guys, so you got to stay in a good place as a team,” Wesley said. “The sacrifice on everybody’s part is huge: some nights, you don’t get the minutes you think you deserve and your number’s not called, but you just got to stay ready. It’s a long season, we’re blessed to have some depth, and we need everyone to stay ready. That’s what championship teams do.”

The Lakers have two more tough GLIAC match-ups this week as they face Northwood at home on Thursday, Jan. 16 before traveling to face SVSU two days later.