SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich.- The Saginaw Valley State men's basketball team competed at Lake Superior State University on Thursday night in the team's third straight contest in the Upper Peninsula. The Cardinals finished the contest shooting 52.0% from the field and grabbed an 81-74 victory over the Lakers to remain in contention for the GLIAC Tournament.
Lake Superior State scored the game's first seven points in just 1:58 into the first half. The Cardinals would halt the Laker run and respond with a scoring run of its own. After getting on the board with a three-point make from Mike Wells, SVSU grabbed the lead for the first time thanks to a 15-4 scoring run that lasted for more than six minutes. The Cardinals squandered the lead briefly at the 10:13 mark of the first half before regaining the upper hand on LSSU.
Saginaw Valley took a 25-19 lead, its largest at the time, as Malik Garner connected on free throws with 5:57 remaining. LSSU was able to cut the lead to five points before the Cardinals would push its lead to double-digits. Garrett Hall stepped to the stripe at the 2:39 mark to give SVSU the 37-23 lead.
The Cardinals would add points from C.J. Turnage to head into the locker room holding a 39-27 lead on the Lakers.
Saginaw Valley continued its strong shooting into the start of the second half. The Cardinals jumped out to a 53-33 lead on the Lakers after Richie Roberts nailed a three with the shot clock expiring. Excellent defense and timely shot-making kept SVSU's lead at 15 points for much of the second half. Things would change at the 9:39 mark of the second half, as LSSU began to play its way back into the game.
The Lakers used an 8-2 scoring run to cut the SVSU lead back down to single digits with 7:55 to play. Saginaw Valley stuck to its gameplan and pushed the advantage back into double digits after a make in the paint from Garner that made the score 66-55.
With LSSU ready to get back into the contest, Saginaw Valley jumped out to a 12-point cushion with a long three ball from Garrett Hall at the 4:21 mark. The Cardinals used the make from Hall to lock in on defense and keep the game out of reach.
Saginaw Valley nearly put the game out of reach as Turnage made both free throws from the stripe with 1:13 to play, pushing the score to 75-66. The Cardinals would convert two more times at the line and provided the insurance points to halt a potential Laker comeback.
The Cardinals would get a late basket from Wade Gelhaus that secured the 81-74 victory over the Lakers.
Inside the Boxscore
- Malik Garner scored a career-high 18 points and pulled in five rebounds in the winning effort for the Cardinals. The freshman guard was selected as the Meijer "Player of the Game".
- Garrett Hall led the Cardinals in scoring with 25 points and hauled in six rebounds. Hall matched his season-best in 3pt field goals (5) and was a perfect 6-for-6 from the line.
- C.J. Turnage recorded his third straight double-double, finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds. He also matched his career-best four blocks in the contest and played 31 minutes for SVSU.
- Mike Wells chipped in offensively with 11 points and had three steals, matching both season and career bests.
- The Cardinals shot 52.0% from the field against the Lakers and were 9-of-18 from beyond the arc in the victory.
- SVSU's bench outscored LSSU by a 34-5 margin.
The Cardinals return to O'Neill Arena to complete the home portion of their 2016-17 regular season schedule with a matchup against the Northwood Timberwolves. Tip-off for the home season finale is set for Saturday at 6:00 p.m. Northwood defeated the Cardinals, 64-63, in the last meeting on Jan. 28 at Riepma Arena.
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