Jan. 2, 2014
ALLENDALE, Mich. - It was a tale of two halves for the Grand Valley State men's basketball team, as the Lakers dropped their first game of the season on Thursday (Jan. 2) night, a 68-66 setback to Hillsdale.
GVSU is now 8-1 overall with a 4-1 record in the GLIAC, while Hillsdale moves to 6-3 overall with a 2-3 mark in the conference.
The Lakers will be back in action with a big game against 12th-ranked Findlay on Saturday (Jan. 4) afternoon at the GVSU Fieldhouse Arena.
GVSU held a 36-31 halftime lead, but a barrage of three-pointers from the Chargers in the second half was the culprit for the Lakers' first loss of the year.
The Lakers never trailed in the first half, building an 11-2 lead early on, eight of those points coming from junior Ryan Sabin. The lead got as high as 10 at 13-3, but Hillsdale battled back to tie the contest at 29 with only two minutes to play in the opening stanza.
From there, the Lakers scored five straight points off free throws from freshman Luke Ryskamp and a second trifecta from Sabin in the half to push the lead back out to 34-29. After a Hillsdale layup with 46 seconds left to cut the lead to 34-31, sophomore Ricardo Carbajal got fouled on a scrum under the basket as the Chargers hoisted a shot to beat the clock at halftime, and Carbajal sank both free throws at the other end with no time on the clock to put GVSU up 36-31 at halftime.
Sabin was a one-man wrecking crew in the first half, scoring 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the opening half, including 2-for-2 from the arc and 3-for-3 from the free throw line when he was fouled on another three-point attempt.
He was matched by Hillsdale's Tim Dezelski, who had 13 points and four rebounds on 6-of-9 shooting in the first half.
Hillsdale opened the scoring in the second half with a layup before Sabin hit his third three-pointer of the game to push the lead out to 39-33.
From there, the Chargers got hot from beyond the arc, as their next six made baskets were all from the three-point line, as Hillsdale took the lead and extended it to as much as five at 51-46. Five straight Laker points then tied the game back up at 51, but a seven-point response from the Chargers made it a 58-51 game, with all seven points coming from Kyle Cooper.
The Lakers got to within one at 60-59 with 3:27 to play after senior Rob Woodson hit a pair of free throws, then he cut the lead to one again at 64-63 with a layup with only 21 seconds to play. After the Chargers hit four straight free throws down the stretch, sophomore Darren Kapustka hit a long trifecta to make it a 68-66 game with only four seconds to play. Hillsdale then missed two free throws on its ensuing possession, with the second miss being knocked out of bounds with 0.7 seconds to play. A long heave down the length of the court was batted down at the elbow, however, clinching the victory for the Chargers.
Sabin finished as the game's leading scorer, tallying 18 points, four rebounds and four assists, while going 6-for-9 from the field and 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. He has scored in double figures in all nine games GVSU has played this season. Woodson had 13 points and four rebounds, his sixth game in double figures in his last seven, while Ryskamp also got in to double figures for the second straight game, scoring 10 points and grabbing four rebounds.
The Lakers and Oilers will tip off in a 3 p.m. tilt on Saturday at the GVSU Fieldhouse Arena.