The SVSU men’s basketball team has won four of its past seven games as it hopes to keep its playoff dreams alive.
Over the weekend, the Cardinals kept the dream afloat with wins over Lake Superior State, 81-74, and Northwood, 74-64.
Saturday, Saginaw Valley hosted Northwood along with several events for the final home game of the regular season. A breast cancer survivor event was held to recognize breast cancer survivors and to raise money.
Additionally, numerous basketball alumni were invited back to celebrate their accomplishments, and the accomplishments of the five graduating seniors on this year’s team.
All five seniors started the game for the Cardinals and ran out to a quick 9-4 advantage over the Timberwolves.
Soon after, SVSU gave up the lead, but strong defense kept the team within 10 points.
Aiming to shorten the gap before the break, the Cards found CJ Turnage down low to cut the Northwood lead to five with just a minute left in the half.
On the next Northwood possession, Nick Spitzley hit a buzzer-beating three-point shot to put the T-Wolves on top 36-28.
During the break, student Jimmy Foster hit an incredible half-court shot to win $5,000 from Financial Plus Credit Union.
Early in the second half, SVSU got its rhythm offensively. A Garrett Hall three, his first points of the game, capped of a 10-4 run in the first three minutes.
After surviving a Timberwolves run of their own, the Cardinals took their second lead of the game, 54-53, with eight minutes left in the game.
The Cardinals hit 75 percent of their shots from the charity stripe in the last two minutes to put the game out of reach and take home a senior night win, 74-64.
Turnage went on to score 26 points in the contest.
“(In the first half) we got great looks of the basket, but they wouldn’t fall for us,” head coach Randy Baruth said. “After the break, our seniors really took charge of the game and got us some points late. That, plus great defensive play from our bench players like Malik Garner and Devon Dixon, really changed the game for us and got us the ‘W.’”
After the game, Baruth and his wife purchased pizza for every student in attendance as a thank you to show their gratitude for their support.
“If anyone knows me, I am not a lovey-dovey type of guy,” Baruth said. “I love working and producing hard-working players. These fans come out to support every sport, men and women, and cheer on these athletes. This is just an amazing opportunity for me and my wife to thank these students for their support throughout the good and bad.”
Thursday night, the Cards came away from LSSU with an 81-74 win. SVSU shot 52 percent from the field and 50 percent from behind the arc while outscoring the Laker bench 34-5.
SVSU played well offensively in the first half and jumped out to a 12-point lead at the break, which paved the way for the victory.
Hall led the way, scoring 25 points off the bench for Cardinals and adding six rebounds. Garner scored 18 points to pace the Cardinals starting five. Turnage added 14 of his own to go along with 10 rebounds.
SVSU (17-10, 10-10 GLIAC) will take on Wayne State on Thursday night to complete the regular season.