Men’s basketball winning streak snapped after loss to Parkside


GVL / Annabelle Robinson

Breanna Hammer, Staff Writer

Grand Valley State University’s men’s basketball had a busy week with two home games against Purdue Northwest (77-74) and Wisconsin-Parkside (62-73) as the Lakers’ overall record now stands at 12-9 overall (6-5 in GLIAC).

The Jan. 26 matchup against PNW was a nail-biter as it came down to the last few seconds.

In a very engaging first half, GVSU was behind by two points heading into the locker room (39-41). As the intensity continued into the second half, redshirt freshman guard Trevor Smith made a big play in the last twelve seconds of the game. 

After the opponent sank two free throws to bring the deficit to within a point, Smith drove towards the basket, shooting a floater off the backboard to put his team up three points.

In a last-chance possession to send the game to overtime, PNW failed to score on two three-point opportunities, resulting in GVSU claiming the victory 77-74 and sweeping the season series at 2-0.

Alongside Smith’s clutch basket to seal the win, graduate student guard Daniel Kiely and graduate student forward Chinedu Kingsley Okanu led the team offensively as Kiely finished with 17 points and four assists and Okanu earned his third double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

After an exciting game, Okanu stated how his teammates motivate him to get things rolling on offense. 

“I’m motivated by the fact I know my teammates need me as much as I need them in return,” Kingsley said. “The fact that I know my brothers have my back night in and night out makes me want to do the same for them.”

Freshman guards Britain Harris and Jalen Charity were also key contributors in the scoring category as the pair notched 11 points apiece in the win.

“I appreciate all of my teammates, we all have strong connections,” Charity said. “Any of us could call each other 10 years from now and could have the same connection that we do right now.”

Having one win for the week in the books, GVSU faced off against Parkside on Jan. 28.

For most of the game, it was a back-and-forth scoring run between the teams with five total lead changes and four ties.

Charity started the first half strong with a spin move in the paint to get the first two points on the board. Charity then had a three and another two-point basket to continue the momentum and put the team up two just under four minutes into the first half (9-7).

Just as the Lakers began to build a minor lead of eight points (20-12), Parkside went on their first run of the game as they scored 14 unanswered points to take the lead with 7:43 remaining in the half (20-24).

With Parkside taking the lead, Charity made a steal to the basket to get the momentum going again. A give-and-go layup to junior forward Marius Grazulis tied the game again 24-24. 

Three lead changes would ensue as just after the Lakers were up 28-27 with three and a half minutes remaining in the first, Parkside went on a 2-13 scoring run to separate themselves 30-40 at the break.

The first basket of the second half was earned by Harris as GVSU attempted to tighten the score. Kingsley scored eight points in the next four possessions as Parkside wouldn’t allow their lead to dwindle past six points (highest 15 points) and ended up taking the win over GVSU (62-73) and the season series at 0-2.

Grazulis and Okanu led the Lakers with 14 points each as Charity followed with 12 points of his own.

Whether the team wins or loses, Kingsley recognizes the versatility that comes from the starting five to those waiting for their name to be called off the bench.

“I believe we all have the same mindset and goal as a unit,” Kingsley starts. “Go hard, have energy, effort, and focus. It’s with this mindset that every player is able to contribute when it comes time to play.” 

With the upsetting loss to finish the week, the Lakers will travel cross-town to face Davenport University on Feb. 4 starting at 3 p.m. in hopes to sweep the season series.