Lake Superior State ends GV’s season in the GLIAC semifinals
In the semifinals of the GLIAC tournament, the third time was the charm — but not for the Grand Valley State University men’s basketball team.
After defeating Lake Superior State University both times in the regular season, 71-62 at Lake Superior State and 82-57 in Allendale, Lake Superior State got the better of GVSU when it mattered most, 70-64.
“I think their defense was a little bit better today,” said head coach Ric Wesley. “We weren’t quite aggressive enough. When our defense was good, we created some offensive opportunities for us. For the second half, our defense wasn’t as strong. They were able to get back and get their defense set and we weren’t able to get the easy baskets.”
After senior Tyrone Lee converted two free throws, GVSU was up 44-37 with 11:20 left in the game. Lake Superior State would then score ten unanswered points to lead 47-44.
The game was tied at 49 with six minutes left, but Lake Superior State would go on a 6-0 run and never relinquish the lead again.
“We started off good and did good things in the first half,” Wesley said. “Then hit a stretch in the second half where we got a little bit tentative and that I think cost us the game. I think they were a little more aggressive than us down the stretch, and I think that was the difference of the game.”
Lake Superior State’s aggressive play paid off. They out-rebounded GVSU 33-19 and converted 32-of-41 free throw attempts, compared to only 17-of-23 attempts for GVSU. Lake Superior State also tallied ten second chance points, while GVSU only managed four.
“They dominated the glass,” Lee said, who led GVSU with 15 points and nine rebounds in his final game as a Laker. “They were a lot more aggressive. If we got a couple more rebounds, we probably could have won this game. That played a big part.”
One key adjustment Lake Superior State made after their first two matchups came on the defensive side of the ball. Lake Superior State employed a 2-3 zone, after playing man-to-man defense in their previous two games against GVSU.
“The first two times, they mostly played us all man,” said junior guard Rob Woodson, who led GVSU with four assists. “They came out to the start of the game in a 2-3 zone and kind of threw us off a little bit and caught us by surprise. They made sure they covered all the shooters and we couldn’t get inside to penetrate to get them open.
We usually like to push the ball and hurry up and try to find the open shooter. We have a lot of plays to run against man. With zone, we couldn’t really do too much in our offense and we were limited to our few plays that we had. We just wasn’t clicking.”
GVSU was limited to 42 percent shooting from the field, while Lake Superior State managed to convert 45 percent of their attempts.
GVSU finishes their season with a 19-9 record. All throughout the year, they battled the injury bug, as multiple key players missed extended periods of time, but they were able to find guys to step up and fill those roles.
“It’s been a tough season in terms of injuries,” Wesley said. “We had a hard time getting into a rhythm and consistency in our lineup and our rotation. Give this group some credit. I think they really played together and hung in together as a group. Our seniors set a good tone. As a group, I’m really proud of the way they pulled together.”