Men’s Basketball goes 1-2 over busy week

Shawn Robinson, Staff Writer

GVL / Sydney Lim

The Grand Valley State University (13-5) men’s basketball team played three games in five days, going 1-2 overall this past week.

The Lakers were defeated Jan. 25 against Davenport (9-7), 72-87 and Jan. 27 against Parkside (10-9), 67-78. The Lakers bounced back for a victory against Purdue Northwest (5-15) on Jan. 29, 89-80. 

GVSU is now 7-4 in GLIAC play with just nine games left in the regular season. 

“It’s tough; just physically tough,” coach Ric Wesley said. “Our guys taking care of their bodies, fueling up, getting rest and staying hydrated are just so important.”

On Tuesday, the men’s basketball team fell to Davenport, but still came out with a few successes from the game. Three Lakers scored double figures, with senior guard Jordan Harris leading the way with 22 points. Senior Jake Van Tubbergen notched another double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds but only played seven minutes in the first half due to early foul trouble.

Both offenses were slow to start the contest, as the game was tied at nine with 14:23 remaining in the first. GVSU opened the lead to five after a made jumper by Harris with 10:57 left, but Davenport cut the deficit to one, 22-23 with 9:31 remaining. 

The Panthers took their first lead of the night, 39-38, 16:52 into the opening half after a made layup. The one-point advantage soon turned into a nine-point lead for Davenport heading into the break. 

In the second half, Van Tubbergen made two free throws to cut the Davenport lead down to five with 17:45 left. The Panthers three-point scoring continued in the half, as Marcedus Leech Jr. knocked down a three with 16:05 remaining to put Davenport up by nine. 

Senior Issac Gassman stepped up and made a three-pointer 5:04 into the second half to cut the lead to five. The Panthers would then go on a 10-0 run halfway through the last frame and never lose the lead again, securing the 87-72 victory over the Lakers. 

On Thursday, the Lakers repeated some of the same mistakes against Parkside. Despite the loss, Van Tubbergen grabbed 10 boards, giving him 1,000 in his career and only the fourth Laker in the program to reach the mark. Senior Deleon Brown had a game-high 18 points. 

Parkside came out firing and had a 12-5 lead with 14:45 remaining in the opening half. The Lakers would get within one with 10:52 left as Harris made a long three-pointer. 

The Rangers held the lead for majority of the half but at the 16:30 mark, GVSU got their first advantage of the game after Van Tubbergen knocked down a jumper. The Lakers would maintain that lead going into the break, leading 32-30. 

Parkside tied the game at 32-32 right out of the gate to open the second half. A back-and-forth start made it a close game, 41-41 with 14:44 remaining. The Rangers would go on an 8-0 run to retain the lead for the rest of the contest, giving them a 78-67 victory. 

On Saturday, the Lakers would get their first win of the week against Purdue Northwest, 89-80. Van Tubbergen led all scorers with 30 points and 14 rebounds, including 13 free throws. Brown recorded 17 points in the second half alone and a career-high 24 points while knocking down four three-pointers. 

“Happy to get the win,” Wesley said. “Purdue Northwest is always a very enthusiastic, aggressive team that we always have battles with. (We) feel fortunate enough to survive their run; we needed to stop the bleeding. We’ve been in little bit of a rut here, so happy we did that and hopefully we can get rolling a little bit.”

The Lakers opened the game on a 16-4 run, causing Purdue Northwest to regroup and call a timeout. The Pride slowly came back into the game after a made three pointer, making it a four-point game 25-21. 

PNW took their first lead of the game after back-to-back triples to make it a two-point contest, 33-31. After a made two by Van Tubbergen, GVSU took a 35-34 lead before going on a 6-2 run to end the half and take a 39-36 advantage going into the break. 

In the second half, the Pride came out with a made three pointer to tie the game, but the Lakers would then make a three of their own. Back-to-back threes would put GVSU up 46-39 with 18:51 remaining. 

The Lakers would have their largest lead of the half, 53-41 with 16:13 left in the second. Freshman Trevon Gunter made two threes to help the Lakers go up 61-47. 

PNW’s Anthony Irvin cut the lead to single digits, 63-56 with a made three pointer but Brown then made his own triple to put the Lakers back on top by double digits, 68-56. 

“Credit to our coaches; they always try to put us in the right spots,” Van Tubbergen said. “We just have go out there and execute. We had to just lock in mentally and execute what they had laid out for us.”

Coming down to the wire, Purdue Northwest made it a six-point game with two minutes left in the contest. After cutting the Laker’s lead down to as many as five with 36 seconds remaining, the Lakers would sink two clutch free throws to seal the 89-80 victory. 

“We saw plenty of things we can improve on,” Wesley said. “It’s a lot more fun to work and improve after a win than it is a loss. We got some talented guys, we just got to make a commitment to be a little bit tougher every possession.”

The Lakers play three games next week, all on the road. The trip will start Feb. 1 at Northwood for a makeup game, followed by a meeting at Lake Superior State on Feb 3. GVSU will close the week against rival Ferris State on Feb. 5 in Big Rapids.