GV Men’s Basketball improves to 5-0 after weekend sweep


GVL Archives

Shawn Robinson, Staff Writer

The no. 23 ranked Grand Valley State University (5-0) men’s basketball team improved to 5-0 after winning three straight games this past week. On Tuesday, Nov. 23, the Lakers beat Grace Christian (4-5), 105-78 at GVSU Fieldhouse Arena followed by a weekend trip to Florida where the team defeated Florida Southern (2-4) 75-68 on Friday and Saint Leo (3-3) 68-67 on Saturday. 

On Tuesday, both teams started out slow as it was a back-and-forth game for the first seven minutes of the half. After the first timeout at 15:58, GVSU was struggling to make a shot only shooting 22% from the field.

“We just couldn’t find the bottom of the basket,” said coach Ric Wesley. “They were good, open looks but we can’t just settle for the three-point shot.” 

With 13:50 remaining, GVSU got its biggest lead thanks to a three-point make by freshman Trevon Gunter. After a quick timeout from Grace Christian, Thomas Hill also made a three, reducing the GVSU lead back down to one. 

The Lakers’ offense started rolling after another three-pointer by Gunter, giving them a 38-34 lead. Following a Grace Christian turnover, senior Jake Van Tubbergen came down and made a fastbreak pull-up jumper, giving him an early 10 points and another four-point lead. 

With 3:31 left in the opening half, Van Tubbergen made a three-pointer which gave the Lakers and the game’s biggest lead of seven, 43-36. That didn’t last long after Cole Powell made a three of his own for Grace Christian. 

A 7-0 run by the Tigers gave Grace Christian a 48-45 lead with 1:18 left in the first. A free-throw make by senior Blake Verbeek gave the Lakers their first points in nearly two minutes. A layup made by Grace Christian’s Jarius Shumpert extended its lead to two. The half ended with a layup by junior Ja’Kavien Lewis with one second left, with the Lakers down two, 50-48. 

The second half started with Van Tubbergen making two free-throws which tied the contest at 50. Both teams traded baskets in the beginning of the half, until the Lakers started to run away with the game. 

Three straight three-point field goals put the Lakers up by seven, 67-60 with 12:07 left in the game. GVSU got their biggest lead after a Van Tubbergen jumper, which gave them a nine-point advantage and a score of 72-63. 

After a made three-pointer by junior guard Luke Toliver with 8:35 left, the Lakers went up by 10 and never looked back. From there on the team went up by as many as 28 and closed the game out, 105-78. GVSU shot 52% from the field and 41% from the 3-point line while scoring a season-high 57 points in the second half. Van Tubbergen recorded 20 points and 10 rebounds while Harris had 24 points and two steals. 

“They executed really well in the second half,” Wesley said. “We made out shots, got to the free-throw line and played good defense that helped us to win that game.”

Heading into the weekend, the Lakers traveled to Florida for the Terrance Hotel Classic to take on a pair of two Division II teams. On Friday, the Lakers took on Florida Southern in a hard-fought battle. 

To open the game, Florida Southern got out to an early 5-2 lead after a three-pointer by E.J. Dambreville. With 14:08 remaining, the Lakers found themselves down five after another three-point make by Moccasins’ Jack Casale. 

GVSU was able to cut the deficit down to one after a made jumper by senior guard Jordan Harris. 

The Lakers found themselves down by eight with 9:06 remaining in the half. Florida Southern continued to grow its lead to as many as 18 after a Xavier Rhodes made jumper. 

GVSU then went on an 8-0 to reduce the Moccasins lead, 28-38, after Gunter made a three-pointer. The Lakers ended the half with a made layup by senior guard Isaac Gassman, going into the break down by ten, 42-32. 

Coming out of the halftime break, Harris made a quick jumper and fueled the Lakers to a 9-0 run, cutting the Moccasin lead to one 42-41. 

Florida Southern then scored a fast five points to extend their lead back up to five. With 8:20 left in the contest, the team found themselves up by eight, 61-53 after a made jumper from Deandre Campbell. 

With 6:20 remaining in the half, GVSU got its first lead in the game once Gassman made an inside jumper, leading 62-61. The made basket continued to fuel the Lakers on a 13-7 run to close out the game and get the victory, 75-68. Van Tubbergen notched his fourth double-double of the season with 23 points and 13 rebounds while Harris scored 13 points. 

“I’m impressed with our guys effort in that second half, particularly on the defensive end,” Wesley said. “Our leadership showed at the end, holding their offense to just seven points in eight minutes.”

To end the weekend trip, the Lakers took on Saint Leo on Saturday. The contest started out badly as the Lions ran out to an early 11-4 lead. With 10:54 left in the first, Wade Coomer made a three-pointer that extended the Saint Leo lead to 11. 

The Lakers then went on a 12-0 run to cut the deficit to one, 21-20. A layup by Lewis gave the Lakers the lead with just under eight minutes remaining in the first half. 

With 2:31 left, sophomore forward Marcus Grazulis made a basket in the paint that gave the Lakers a five-point advantage. 

As time expired in the first, Saint Leo’s Rob Fry made a jumper that cut the Laker lead to two, 35-33. 

GVSU would open the second half with a 7-0 run thanks to a Harris three-pointer and jumper. The Lakers would later have their largest lead of the game at 12, with just under 13 minutes left to play. 

With 7:08 remaining in the game, Coomer would make another three and reduce the Laker’s lead to nine. Soon after, Francis Sio would make a three-pointer which made the score 61-56 with just under six minutes to play. Another three by Wade Coomer would bring the Lions within two with under five minutes left in the contest. 

Tied at 65 with 2:13 remaining, Saint Leo grabbed control of the lead after Jared Coomer made a jumper. A three-point make by Gassman would put the Lakers up by one with a little over a minute remaining. A missed three-point attempt by Saint Leo would give GVSU another victory, 68-67. Van Tubbergen notched his fifth double-double of the season, recording 10 points and 10 rebounds. Deleon Brown came up big putting in nine points, four rebounds and three assists of the bench. 

“Tonight, we saw the exact opposite of last night; a bunch of buckets against us late,” Wesley said. “But we found the right moments and did enough to get the win. To travel down to Florida and win two games on back-to-back nights against good opponents is a big testament to our team.”

The Lakers will start GLAIC play this upcoming Thursday as they face Saginaw Valley State University at the GVSU Fieldhouse Arena.