KENOSHA, Wis. – The Saginaw Valley State University men's basketball team opened the 2021 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Postseason Tournament with a road game at the University of Wisconsin Parkside Tuesday in Kenosha, Wis.
The Cardinals, who have not played a home game since Jan. 26, were well prepared for the environment of playing on the road. After falling behind in the first half, SVSU took control after the break thanks to outstanding performances from Delano Smith and Myles Belyeu.
Up two points late in the second half, SVSU used a 9-2 run, fueled by six points from Smith, to build a nine-point advantage with 58 seconds to play. The Cardinals closed it out down the stretch, earning a 77-72 win and a bid to the GLIAC Quarterfinals.
"We had the same mentality tonight that we have had all year," SVSU Head Coach Randy Baruth said. "The big difference tonight was we got more stops and we played grittier."
Smith scored a season-high 32 points on 12-of-20 shooting. He hit three 3-pointers and narrowly missed a double-double with nine rebounds for SVSU. Belyeu finished with 24 points on 9-of-18 shooting, adding six rebounds and four assists.
"This is something we have been waiting for from Delano," Baruth said. "We talked at halftime that our leaders need to step up and play a full 40 minutes. Both Delano and Myles stepped up to make big plays for us down the stretch when we need him to."
Tarik Singh was strong off the bench for the Cardinals, chipping in seven points and seven rebounds in the win.
SVSU shot 28-of-59 from the field, 7-of-23 from deep, and 14-of-20 from the line, finishing with 13 assists, four steals, and nine turnovers.
Ramar Evans scored 24 points on 7-of-11 shooting to lead the Rangers who end the season with a record of 9-10.
SVSU (4-11), now the No. 8 seed in the tournament, will take on No. 1 seed Wayne State University at noon EST Thursday in Hammond, Ind.