GVSU downs Grace Bible College, Salem International
Ryskamp, Carbajal lead Lakers to blowout wins at home
GVL / Kevin Sielaff - Chaz Rollins (25) calls for the ball in the paint. The Laker basketball squad defeats Grace Bible College with a final score of 83-57 Nov. 23 in the fieldhouse arena.
The Grand Valley State men's basketball team wrapped up pre-GLIAC play in perfect fashion, trumping Grace Bible College and Salem International to improve to 5-0 as the conference schedule looms.
In the first game of the home-and-home week, the Lakers downed Grace Bible 83-57 despite a slow start in Fieldhouse Arena.
GVL / Kevin Sielaff - Trevin Alexander (5) grabs an offensive rebound and puts the ball back up on net. The Laker basketball squad defeats Grace Bible College with a final score of 83-57 Nov. 23 in the fieldhouse arena.
"It just was a game that never really got going," said GVSU head coach Ric Wesley. "I have to give (Grace Bible) some credit, I don't know if they ever played man-to-man. It really forced us to set up, work the ball for long possessions. The game was slow, grind-it-out affair."
One game removed from blitzing Olivet College with a 105-point outburst, the Laker offense floated back down to earth last Monday night at Fieldhouse Arena, but was still effective enough to secure a GVSU win.
GVSU managed to shoot just over 51 percent from the field, as its bench outscored Grace Bible's 31-9. Junior Luke Ryskamp paced the Lakers with 21 points on 66 percent shooting, as junior forward Trevin Alexander notched a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
"Trevin was just tremendous again," Wesley said. "He's really playing well at this time of the year. He's rebounding, he's scoring, he's getting steals, he's blocking shots and doing a lot of things that don't even show up on the stat sheet in terms of leadership and communication."
The Lakers dominated the game in the post. Grace Bible (6-6) refused to take the ball into the paint offensively, instead settling for an onslaught of deep shots. The Tigers scored their first bucket in the paint with just a minute remaining in the first half. GVSU outscored Grace Bible 38-6 in the paint.
The Lakers held a wide advantage in rebounding, as Alexander and Chaz Rollins pulled down 22 rebounds between themselves. The Tigers only recorded 22 rebounds as a team.
"When (Rollins) was in there he was really a factor on the glass," Wesley said.
Again, Alexander led the way defensively for GVSU. The junior forward tallied four steals and two blocks as he snuck up on Tiger ball-handlers and jumped passing lanes.
Junior guard Jared Bradford led the Tigers with 15 points on 4 of 7 shooting. Laker forward Ricardo Carbajal added 10 points, and reserve Juwan Starks chipped in with nine. Of GVSU's 32 baskets, 29 were the result of an assist.
Guards Aaron Hayes and Darren Kapustka tied for the team lead with six assists each.
In Saturday's tilt against Salem International (1-4), the Lakers used scoring from a number of players to roll to another easy victory.
Five Lakers -- Ryskamp, Carbajal, Rollins, and freshmen Justin Greason and Zach West -- scored in double figures.
Salem International tried to get an early jump on GVSU, employing a full-court press right out of the gate. The Lakers sliced through the press, however, and dropped the first six points of the game before springing out to an early 15-5 lead.
"I feel like we did better than against Grace Bible College -- they pretty much played zone and challenged us," Carbajal said. "It was the first time we saw a zone besides practice. (Salem International) played a zone too and they pressed against us for the first time. I felt we handled it well."
A team effort helped GVSU expand its lead to 28-9. From there, it was time to coast. The Lakers carried a 49-22 lead into the second half, and, despite a much closer second half, romped to a 91-60 win.
Ryskamp again led the Lakers in the scoring column, knocking down 10 of 16 shots for 26 points, while dishing out five assists. Carbajal owned the paint, scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, while Rollins joined in on the fun with 12 points and nine rebounds.
Greason added 10 points and five rebounds, while West matched with 10 points of his own.
The Lakers shot 54.5 percent from the field, including 38.9 percent on 3-pointers. GVSU held a 46-20 advantage in points in the paint, and scored 25 points off of forced turnovers.
With the win, the Lakers wrapped up their final game before conference play. The 5-0 record is something to be proud of, but a mountain of work still lies ahead for GVSU.
"From the year we had last year being a little bit down, I think we knew the new guys don't really know about it getting harder, but we keep telling them in the GLIAC it's going to be a dogfight and a defensive battle, but this is going help us keep going," Ryskamp said. "5-0 is the best start you can ask for and we're happy about it."
The Lakers, who have played all five games at home, will continue to host teams as they welcome Ashland on Thursday at 8 p.m. and Lake Erie on Saturday at 3 p.m. in Fieldhouse Arena.