Score: No. 4 Saginaw Valley 68, No. 3 Bellarmine 66
Records: SVSU (1-0) | BU (0-1)
Riepma Arena- Midland, Mich.
MIDLAND, Mich. - The Saginaw Valley State University, ranked No. 4 in the preseason NABC Top-25 Poll, opened the season with a huge matchup against the No. 3 ranked Bellarmine University Knights on Friday (Nov. 11) night in th the GLIAC / GLVC Challenge. After running out to a big first half lead, the Cardinals fended-off strong play from the Knights and got a late three-pointer from redshirt freshman Malik Garner with 4.1 seconds left to claim a 68-66 win in the top-five matchup.
The Cardinals ran out to a steady lead and would push it to double-figures when Garrett Hall made a layup at the 10:41 mark of the first to make the score 23-12. A pair of Devin Dixon free throws and four freebies from C.J. Turnage would then push that lead out further with the score 29-12.
Leading 30-14, the Cardinals saw that edge dwindle down as Bellarmine scored 14 straight over a 6:04 period to cut the deficit to 30-28.
Dixon would add a layup and Bellarmine got a jumper with six minutes left in the opening half, making the score 32-30 in SVSU's favor heading into the half.
Saginaw Valley held a 42-37 lead after a Turnage layup but the Knights came back to take the lead and make the score 46-42.
That lead held true up until a pair of Hall free throws tied the game at 57-57 with 5:43 showing on the clock and a Hall layup made the score 59-57 in SV's favor.
The Knights would bounce back once more and eventually take the lead at 66-61 with just 1:33 showing on the clock.
Four consecutive Hall freebies cut the deficit back to one point at 66-65 with 48 seconds left to play.
After a missed three-pointer on the defensvie end, the Cardinals brought the ball back down and eventually got the ball in the hands of Garner of the top left wing outside the arc. He then buried a triple to make the lead 68-66 with just 4.1 seconds left on the clock.
A last second three-point attempt by the Knights was turned-away by Turnage, sealing the team's season-opening victory.
Inside the Boxscore
- Hall went for a game-high 17 points, adding six rebounds and two assists.
- Turnage scored 14 points with six boards and three steals.
- Richie Roberts added 11 points for SVSU in his first career game.
- Garner's three pointer was part of his five points in his 21 minutes of action.
- Wade Gelhaus added six points and a game-high eight rebounds in his first start of the season.
- The Cardinals were out-shot by a 54.2% (26-48) to 39.3% (24-61) margin but owned a 35-28 edge on the glass.
- Saginaw Valley had 16 offensive boards in comparison to Bellarmine's four.
- SV also held a narrow 36-32 advantage in points in the paint.
- Bellarmine committed 18 turnovers compared to 12 for SVSU.
- There were six ties and five lead changes in the game.
Malik Garner's Game-Winner
Saginaw Valley continues play on Saturday evening against the St. Joseph's Pumas at Northwood. Tip-off for the team's second game of the 2016 GLIAC / GLVC Challenge is set for 5:30 p.m. in NU's Riepma Arena in Midland, Michigan.