Lake Superior State men’s basketball opens 2017 on the road January 5th and 7th with a pair of Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference match – ups against South Division opponents Ohio Dominican and Hillsdale.
The week opens at 7:30 p.m on Thursday with the Lakers (7-2, 4-1 GLIAC) taking on the Panthers (7-5, 2-4 GLIAC) and concludes with Saturday’s 3 p.m. meeting with the Chargers (5-7, 1-5 GLIAC).
The Lakers enter the matchup winners of five straight games, including four consecutive victories over South Division opponents.
- LSSU enters the week leading the GLIAC and ranking eighth nationally in scoring, averaging 94.7 points per game.
- The team also leads the GLIAC in field goal percentage (50.8) and is tied for 20th in the nation.
- From behind the arc this season, the Lakers rank second among GLIAC teams in three-point field goal percentage (39.8).
- Defensively, the Lakers rank 13th in the GLIAC in points per game allowed (79.8), but limit their opponents to the third-lowest field goal percentage (41.0) and the second-lowest three-point field percentage (30.9) in the GLIAC.
- Akaemji Williams continues to lead the GLIAC and ranks seventh nationally in overall scoring at 23.7 points per game. Williams is also the national leader in assists (9.4) and steals (3.56) per game.
- Williams, a native of Pontiac, Michigan has been named the GLIAC North Division Player of the Week twice this season and the junior guard also notched his 1,000thcareer point earlier this season in a 90-85 victory over Findlay (Dec. 10).
- Through six games this season Williams has scored at least 30 points on five occasions, and has at least eight assists in every contest.
Leading the Lakers from deep is the sophomore starting duo of Blake Marquardt and Carson Manger. Marquardt ranks sixth among GLIAC shooters with a 48.5 percent clip from behind the arc, while Manger is hitting on 47.7 percent of his three-point attempts, ranking seventh in the GLIAC.
- Marquardt ranks 16th among GLIAC scorers with a 14.4 points per game average, while Manger ranks 19th at 13.3 points per game.
Also contributing to the Lakers’ high profile offense is a team assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.58 with 174 assists and 110 turnovers. The Lakers are rank fourth nationally and lead the GLIAC.
- At 19.3 assists per game, the Lakers also rank fifth nationally and lead the conference.
- Junior center Michael Nicholson is the fourth Laker starter averaging double-digit points this season with 12.3 points per game, ranking 31st among GLIAC players. Nicholson ranks third among GLIAC players with a 64.6 field goal percentage on the season.
- The Clarkston, Michigan native also ranks second among GLIAC players in rebounding with 8.2 boards per contest and ranks fifth with 1.4 blocks per game.
This Week’s Matchups
ODU enters the contest in fourth place in the GLIAC South Division. The Panthers rank fourth in the GLIAC in assists with an average of 16.2 per game, and also rank fifth in the GLIAC in three-point percentage at 37.9 percent as a team.
Defensively, ODU ranks fourth in the GLIAC in three-point percentage, only allowing opposing teams to connect on 31.3 percent of their tries.
Freshman Hassan Varence and junior guard Ronnie Williams are tied for the team lead in scoring, each averaging 12.9 points per game. Varence leads ODU in rebounding at 7.9 boards per game, which also ranks fourth in the GLIAC in rebounding. Williams ranks second on the team in assists at 3.4 per contest.
The Chargers open the weekend hosting Northwood following a brutal start to the GLIAC season, picking up five losses before earning their first GLIAC victory on the road against Northern Michigan (Dec. 17).
Junior guard Stedman Lowry leads the Chargers and ranks 13th overall in the GLIAC at 14.7 points per game. Lowry also ranks second among Hillsdale players in rebounding with 4.7 rebounds per game.
Among GLIAC teams, Hillsdale enters the weekend ranking 14th with 71.2 points per game and sixth in points allowed per game (70.3).
Last Time Out (Algoma, 107-57 W)
Led by freshmen Ke’Montrece Collins’ and Malek Adams’ career-highs in scoring, Lake Superior State rolled 107-57 past cross-river border rivals Algoma University (Dec. 19) prior to the holiday break.
Collins scored a game-high 20 points and added his first career double-double, collecting 11 rebounds. His classmate, Adams, added 17 points and also notched a season-high six assists.
The Lakers led throughout the contest while hitting a torrid 56.3 percent from the field and dominated inside, outscoring Algoma 72-14 in the paint. LSSU also held the Thunderbirds to 30.3 percent from the field (20-66) and 16.7 percent (6-36) from three-point range.
The LSSU bench scored 68 points in extended minutes during the lopsided victory and also featured season-high performances for Michael Smutny with 14 points and eight rebounds and eight points by Jessy Cantinol.
Nicholson marked the only LSSU starter to reach double digits in scoring, netting 13 points and adding four rebounds and two blocks in 12 minutes of action. Junior guard Akaemji Williams scored nine points and added a game-high nine assists in 18 minutes of work.Nicholson collected his first double-double of the season for LSSU with 14 points and a game-high 18 rebounds. Marquardt finished with a career-high 28 points as the Lakers’ second leading scorer in the contest.
A Look Ahead
The Lakers return home to Cooper Gymnasium to host GLIAC rivals Ferris State next Thursday January 12th and Grand Valley State next Saturday January 14th. Both the Bulldogs (10-3, 4-2 GLIAC) and GVSU (8-5, 4-2 GLIAC) have as many wins as the Lakers, however LSSU holds a game-in-hand on both.
Source: LSSU Athletics