Jan. 10, 2013
Allendale, Mich. - Grand Valley State won a defensive battle on Thursday night (Jan. 10), as the Lakers came from behind to pull out a 43-41 victory over Northern Michigan. 30 of GVSU's 43 points were scored by the Laker reserves, including 18 second-half points from the subs.
It was the lowest point total Grand Valley State has scored in a win since Feb. 20, 2003 when the Lakers went up to Houghton, Mich. and defeated #1 Michigan Tech by a 42-40 final score. The 41 points allowed by GVSU is the lowest total by an opponent since Jan. 5, 2012 when the Lakers won at Saginaw Valley State, 53-39.
The victory gives GVSU a 10-3 overall record and a 7-2 mark in GLIAC play, while Northern Michigan drops to 4-9 on the season and 3-6 in the conference. Grand Valley State's next opponent, Michigan Tech on Saturday afternoon, fell to Ferris State on Thursday night. The Huskies will also sport a 7-2 record in Saturday's matchup, which will start at 1:00 p.m.
GVSU trailed 37-35 with 4:45 remaining when sophomore Kristers Zeidaks nailed a corner three-pointer late in the possession to put the Lakers ahead, 38-37. Two minutes later, sophomore Ryan Majerle lobbed a pass to Zeidaks, who slammed home the alley-oop dunk and gave GVSU a three-point lead. A pair of free throws brought Northern Michigan within a point (40-39) with 1:24 to play.
On Grand Valley State's next possession, senior Breland Hogan converted his only bucket of the game, a driving layup along the baseline that gave GVSU a 42-39 lead. Northern Michigan's Matthew Craggs was fouled on the other end shooting a three-pointer, but missed the first free throw. He connected on the second and third attempts to make the score 42-41 with 30 seconds left.
After being fouled on the ensuing inbounds pass, junior Rob Woodson stepped to the line and split a pair of free throws. Trailing by two points in the final seconds, Craggs threw up a tough left-handed jumper that was no good and Hogan came down with the rebound, securing the win for Grand Valley State.
Woodson led the Lakers with 11 points off the bench, as the GVSU subs outscored Northern Michigan's reserves by a 30-5 tally in the game. Freshman Ernijs Ansons and sophomore Darius Norman each had seven points, with Ansons knocking down both of his three-point attempts. Sophomore Ricardo Carbajal delivered six points and three steals off the bench, while Zeidaks provided a team-high six rebounds, five crucial points, and a pair of blocked shots.
Norman scored the first six points of the game, making a short jumper and a pair of layups, all of which were assisted by sophomore Ryan Sabin, who dished out five assists in the game. NMU rallied to take a 17-12 advantage before the Lakers scored on consecutive layups from Woodson, Carbajal, and Woodson once again.
However, the Wildcats would score the final six points of the first half and take a 23-18 lead into halftime. Northern Michigan shot 52.9 percent (9-of-17) in the first half, while the Lakers connected on just 7-of-21 attempts (33.3 percent). Grand Valley State would stay close thanks to forcing NMU into 11 first half turnovers.
Northern Michigan led by as many as seven points in the final 20 minutes, and looked to be in control with a 36-29 cushion with exactly 10:00 minutes remaining. The Lakers defense stepped up their game and did not allow a Wildcat made field goal for the remainder of the game, with NMU's final five points in the last 10 minutes all coming from the free throw line.
Trailing 36-29, Ansons scored four straight points and a jumper from Woodson brought the Lakers within a point at 36-35 with 5:42 to go. Moments later, Zeidaks buried a huge three-pointer and GVSU would not trail again in the final 4:45 of the contest.
For the game, Grand Valley State shot 41.2 percent, including a 53.8 percentage (7-of-13) in the second half. The Lakers held Northern Michigan to 35.1 percent shooting and a 4-for-20 mark (20.0 percent) in the final 20 minutes. GVSU owned the paint, 22-10, and forced 15 NMU turnovers.