Lakers unable to mount comeback, fall to SVSU 69-65

Photo Courtesy Kati Doty
Photo Courtesy Kati Doty

UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. - Late miscues cost Lake Superior State men's basketball a 69-65 loss on the road against Saginaw Valley State on Thursday (Jan. 26) in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.

The Lakers (10-6, 7-5 GLIAC) posted better shooting marks from the field but came up short late with a pair of costly turnovers in the final minute of regulation. LSSU shot 42.0 percent on field goals (21-50) and 42.1 percent (8-19) on three-point attempts, while the Cardinals (12-7, 5-7 GLIAC) managed just 39.6 percent from the field and a 5-for-21 mark (23.8 percent) from behind the arc.

On the strength of strong shooting and tough defense, the Lakers took a one-point lead into the halftime break, 36-35.

Out of the break, junior guard Akaemji Williams gave LSSU its largest lead of the game with 13:38 left to play on a layup in transition. The Cardinals responded with a layup by Wade Gelhaus six seconds later and tied the game on a three-pointer by Caleb Davis after a turnover by the Lakers on their ensuing possession.

The layup by Gelhaus began a 9-0 run for SVSU as the Lakers failed to score for nearly four minutes and turned the ball over three times. The Cardinals took their largest lead of the second half, a 56-51 advantage after C.J. Turnage made one of two free throws with 11:16 remaining.

Sophomore guard Blake Marquardt then answered on the other end with a three-pointer to draw the Lakers within two. Marquardt's basket started an 8-0 run for LSSU, capped by Williams' three-point play on a layup and foul shot with 7:45 remaining.

Devin Dixon and Garrett Hall then led the Cardinals on a 9-2 run to put SVSU back ahead 65-61 with 4:47 remaining. Hall finished with a game-high 26 points and Dixon added 11 points off the bench.

Senior guard Jordan Dasuqi trimmed the SVSU lead to 65-63 with a layup, but that would be the final field goal the Lakers would score as the LSSU shooters went 0-for-5 from the field to close the final minutes of the game and committed a pair of costly turnovers with a chance to tie or take the lead in the final minute.

Williams led LSSU with 18 points and five assists, followed by sophomore Carson Manger with 16 points. Manger shot a respectable 5-for-9 from the field, including 3-for-5 from behind the arc but logged just 10 of his 25 minutes of action in the second half.

Marquardt rounded out the LSSU starters reaching double digits with 10 points and senior center Michael Smutny led the Lakers bench with nine points in 12 minutes of work before fouling out late in the second half.

A win from Saturday's opponent Wayne State against Northwood on Thursday pits the Lakers tied with the Warriors (10-6, 7-5 GLIAC)for fourth place in the GLIAC North Division ahead of the weekend finale. The Lakers and Warriors 3 p.m. meeting inside the Matthaei Center in Detroit will be televised live throughout the state of Michigan on Comcast channel 900.