SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. - Paced by 23 points from junior guard Akaemji Williams and sophomore forward Blake Marquardt's 22 points, Lake Superior State ran away with a 99-78 victory at home over Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference North Division rivals Grand Valley State on Saturday.
The Lakers (9-4, 6-3 GLIAC) jumped out to an 18-point lead with 4:45 remaining in the first half, following a tip-in by senior center Michael Smutny. GVSU (10-6, 6-3 GLIAC), however, finished the half on a 17-4 run, cutting the LSSU lead to just 42-37 at the break.
Both teams hit identical marks of 16-for-30 (53.3 percent) from the field in the second half, but LSSU was able to hit 6-of-11 (54.5 percent) shots from behind the arc, compared to GVSU's 3-for-11 (27.3 percent) mark. LSSU also connected on 19-of-22 from the free throw line, while GVSU made just six-of-eight during the final 20 minutes, allowing the Lakers to build a 24-point lead with 2:26 remaining in the contest, their largest lead of the game.
Williams also finished with a game-high 12 assists for his sixth double-double of the season. Sophomore guard Carson Manger also chipped in 12 points and came one rebound short of a double-double of his own.
Junior center Michael Nicholson rounded out the LSSU starting lineup to reach double digits in scoring, hitting six-of-six shots from the field and went two-for-three from the free-throw line. Nicholson also added a thunderous dunk 1:08 into the second half, while getting fouled and converted the three-point play by sinking the free throw.
Zach West led the way for Grand Valley with 22 points and six rebounds off the bench.
With the win, LSSU moved into a four-way tie for second place in the tight GLIAC North Division standings with GVSU, Michigan Tech and Wayne State, which has lost three straight games.
The Lakers next travel across the Upper Peninsula to Northern Michigan on Thursday night, before traveling to Michigan Tech next Saturday.