SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich.- Lake Superior State men's basketball kicks off the 2016-17 campaign at home Thursday evening against Great Lakes Valley Conference members University of Indianapolis at 7:00 p.m.
The Lakers are coming off a 19-10 overall record in 2015-16 and a 14-8 mark in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play. A loss to Hillsdale College in the quarterfinals of the GLIAC Tournament last season ended a run of two consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances for coach Steve Hettinga, LSSU's all-time wins leader.
The Lakers enter the matchup with the Greyhounds (1-1) coming off of wins over NAIA opponent Davenport and NCAA Division III Alma in exhibition play. LSSU rolled past future GLIAC partners Davenport, 95-76, to open the exhibition slate on Oct. 27.
LSSU shot 50.8 percent from the floor, including 55.2 percent (16-for-29) from three point range in the victory over the Panthers. Sophomore forward Blake Marquardt propelled the Lakers with a game-high 30 points and added 11 rebounds for the double-double. Fellow sophomore, Carson Manger scored 25 and also chipped in four assists, four rebounds and three steals.
Against the Scots on Nov. 5, the Lakers shot a blistering 55.9 percent from the field during the first half and cruised to a 90-58 victory. Junior guard Akaemji Williams led LSSU with 20 points and six assists. Junior forward Michael Nicholson grabbed finished with 13 points and seven rebounds.
Williams enters his junior campaign with lofty expectations following a First Team All-GLIAC selection and All-Defensive team nod last season. The Rochester native averaged 19.4 points, 7.2 assists and 2.9 steals per game while producing a formidable one-two punch with 2015-16 leading scorer Devin Daly.
Daly's graduation leaves a void in the Lakers' scoring, which is expected to be filled by a deep lineup that can produce from all five positions on the floor.
Against the Greyhounds on Thursday, the Lakers hope to avenge a 93-75 loss from last season when the teams met in Nicoson Hall in Indianapolis. UIndy outscored the Lakers 52-34 in the second half after the teams were tied at 41 at the half.
UINDY had to replace its top four scorers from a year ago, including All-American Jordan Loyd. Division I transfers D.J. Davis (South Dakota), Roderick Davis (Wright State), and Milos Cabarkapa (Central Michigan) headline a lengthy list of newcomers joining the Greyhound returners.
D.J. Davis has led 'Hounds in their opening two matchups against GLIAC members Ashland (70-64, L) and Lake Erie (81-73, W) last weekend, with an average of 16.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.
Tickets for Thursday's matchup against the Greyhounds cost $6 for adults and $4 for youth (children under 3 are free) tickets and can be purchased online at http://lssutickets.universitytickets.com, or by calling the Norris Center Ticket Office at (906) 635-2602.