GVSU opens GLIAC play with pair of road wins
Head coach Ric Wesley preached the importance of winning on the road to his Grand Valley State University men’s basketball team in the practices leading up to the Lakers two-game roadtrip to open GLIAC play.
The players got the message, as they secured wins over conference foes Ashland University and Lake Erie College this past weekend.
Five players scored in double figures for GVSU (5-1, 2-0 GLIAC) in their conference-opening 66-57 win against Ashland (1-2, 0-1 GLIAC), including sophomore Kirsters Zeidaks, who led the team with 15 points and eight rebounds and showed off his versatility by knocking down two 3-pointers.
“We’re working hard every day,” Zeidaks said. “Coach is pushing us to work hard every day and if we work hard, the results will come.”
For their second-straight game, GVSU trailed heading into the locker room. However, GVSU’s 21-for-23 free throw shooting and 47 percent shooting from the field, helped them outscore Ashland 43-28 in the final half.
“We showed our toughness in our second half,” said sophomore Ryan Majerle, who recorded seven points in the victory over Ashland. “We were disappointed in our execution in the first half so the second half we executed and played some even better defense and got the win.”
The Lakers didn’t waste any time Satuday against Lake Erie (3-2, 0-2). Hot shooting from Majerle and sophomore Ryan Sabin propelled the Lakers to a 68-48 win.
Sabin finished with a game-high 18 points, including four triples on seven attempts. Majerle added 17 points on 5-of-6 attempts from deep, including a perfect 4-for-4 in the first half. As a team, the Lakers shot 49 percent and limited Lake Erie to only 29 percent shooting for the game.
“Both were hitting at the same time,” Wesley said. “It’s hard to overcome that as a defense. A lot of that was the unselfishness of the other guys. I thought Breland (Hogan) really started the game off breaking the defense down and kicking it out and finding the open man. We got it around to the open man and those guys were knocking it down.”
Sabin and Majerle have consistently led the Lakers in 3-point efficiency. Sabin has made 16-of-27 of his attempts from deep (59 percent) and Majerle has knocked down 15-of-26 trifectas (57 percent).
“We just take what the defense gives us,” Majerle said. “Me and Sabe got some open shots today. Our teammates did a great job of getting us the ball and that opened the floor. They started closing down hard on us and made room for Breland and some of the bigs to go to work.”
Zeidaks followed up his 15 point, eight rebound game with another solid performance, recording six points and 11 boards. Wesley came away impressed with the 6-foot-8 forward’s play over the weekend.
“It might have been his best all-around game,” Wesley said. “Very solid on defense and he really had some big rebounds and he really did a good job of passing the ball. He was a pretty calming presence and he helped us with his ball handling as well as his rebounding. It was just a solid road trip for him and hopefully he can continue playing at that level.“
GVSU will look to remain unbeaten in conference play when they return to Allendale to take on Tiffin University on Thursday at 6 p.m.