GVSU men's basketball loses two
Lakers fall to SVSU, Hillsdale in frustrating weekend
GVL / Kevin Sielaff - Aaron Hayes (1) drives the ball to the net. The Lakers defeat the Chargers of Hillsdale College Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016 in Allendale.
The Grand Valley State men's basketball team took back-to-back punches over the weekend, but doesn't have time to dwell on the negatives.
The Lakers (14-6, 8-6 GLIAC) dropped a 66-56 decision to Saginaw Valley State (16-4, 12-2 GLIAC) on Jan. 28, and were dealt another major blow in a 76-63 home loss to Hillsdale (12-6, 8-6 GLIAC) on Jan. 30.
"You just got to let it go," said senior Chaz Rollins. "You can't forget how it feels to lose. This feeling sucks but we just got to let it go and move on."
In the weekend opener, the Lakers hit the road to take on the rival Cardinals, which stand in an unchallenged first place atop the GLIAC. GVSU jumped out of the gate to a 9-2 lead, and continued to increase the gap.
Leading 19-15 midway through the first half, the Lakers rattled off a balanced 11-0 run to leap ahead 30-15. SVSU managed to wrestle the gap to a manageable margin by halftime, when the two teams headed into the locker room dealing with a 38-30 GVSU lead.
GVSU couldn't find the bottom of the net in the second half. The Lakers shot just 27.8 percent in the second stanza, and went through a late four-minute scoreless drought. GVSU scored just six points in the final nine minutes, while SVSU dropped 38 total points in the second half.
Rollins and senior guard Aaron Hayes shouldered nearly the entire scoring load for the Lakers. Rollins scored 16 points, while Hayes had a game-high 22. SVSU star C.J. Turnage lead the Cardinals with 16 of his own.
"It’s never good to lose, but it's almost like we don’t have time to be happy or sad. We got to keep going," said GVSU head coach Ric Wesley, following GVSU's loss to Hillsdale. "In my 12 years here I don’t ever remember a year where the league has been this strong. I feel like every single team has a good coach and they’re working hard and committed to trying to win."
The Lakers had a shot to redeem themselves on Jan. 30 with a home tilt against Hillsdale, but were unable to string together any offensive cohesiveness and lost 76-63.
The Chargers nailed four early 3-pointers and found themselves ahead 12-4 in the opening minutes. Hillsdale continued the behind-the-arc barrage, moving the lead to 23-9. The Lakers worked away at the lead and the Chargers cooled off, and halftime rolled around with Hillsdale clinging to a slim 37-35 lead.
Just over five minutes into the second half, the Lakers grabbed their first lead of the game at 41-39 after Luke Ryskamp converted a put-back. Soon after, Trevin Alexander hit a mid-range jumper and GVSU led 43-39.
But the Lakers couldn't continue their roll. With the score tied 43-43, GVSU's Ricardo Carbajal got slapped with a technical foul after arguing a call, and Hillsdale went on a run. The Chargers got back in front with a 13-0 run, culminating in a 52-43 lead.
GVSU's best efforts fell short, and Hillsdale wrapped up a key road win.
"We knew that they were going to come in, they have a lot of good role players and a lot of guys that know how to win," Ryskamp said. "We got to turn around, we got a lot of games coming up and we don’t really even have time to think about it."
Ryskamp and Alexander both scored 14 points to pace GVSU, while Hillsdale's Kyle Cooper scored a game-high 15 points. Cooper, the GLIAC's leading scorer, was averaging 27.3 point per game entering the contest.
GVSU shot just 33.3 percent as a team, and 22.2 percent from 3-point land.
The Lakers next have road contests at Ferris State (Feb. 1), Northern Michigan (Feb. 4) and Michigan Tech (Feb. 6).