Men’s Basketball: Shooting into the GLIAC play following victory

In gearing up for conference play, the Cardinals played their final two games of November, beating both Grace Bible and Spring Arbor University to improve their record to 4-0.

Last Tuesday, SVSU took on Grace Bible and went into halftime up two, 37-35, yet a powerful second-half performance where the Cardinals scored 60 sealed the victory.  Sophomore guard Damon Bozeman led in scoring for the Cardinals with 22 points.  Freshman guard Garrett Hall came off the bench and scored 18 of the 42 points produced by SVSU’s bench.

The Valley Vanguard

Vanguard photo | Jamie Loubert

Sophomore guard Kellen Smith played selflessly against Grace Bible in SVSU’s final non-conference game, dishing out nine assists on the night while scoring four points of his own. Against Spring Arbor, Smith also tallied nine assists, two rebounds and four points.

The Cardinals were outrebounded 39-26, yet only turned the ball over eight times compared to 21 from Grace Bible.  Those turnovers led to 25 points for the Cardinals.

The win gave SVSU a perfect 4-0 record going into Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (GLIAC) play.

In their second-to-last non conference game, the Cardinals topped Spring Arbor University 82-72, both giving SVSU confidence and showing that there are areas to improve in.

The Cougars led by eight points with a little under 10 minutes left in regulation, only to be upset by a Cardinal surge that would tie the teams up. With momentum on their side, Cardinals defeated the Cougars by ten, giving the Cougars no chance to come back.

Second-year head coach Randy Baruth said he felt confident that if the team continues building on its weaknesses that the Cardinals will continue to have success on the court.

“We’re a little more than a month into our season, so there are still a lot of things that are a work in progress,” Baruth said. “We’re obviously not where we want to be, but we are just taking things one day at time.

“We like the attitude and effort from our guys for the most part, but as the season goes on we have to start doing a better job of concentrating on the task at hand and execute better.”

Even though the end of Friday’s game sparked excitement, Baruth knew that the team’s stumbles in the beginning of the night were learning opportunities.

“It was a great game for our guys to play,” he said. “It was great to watch the game film afterwards and see what a lot of our weaknesses are.

“The real reason we were able to get back in the game was by getting stops on the defensive end.”

Bozeman led the Cardinals in scoring with 28 points. Twenty-three of his points came when it mattered most, in the last 20 minutes of the game. Junior guard Lindsey Johnson scored 20 and senior guard Michael Fugate had 12, both who were also instrumental in the win over the Cougars.

No matter the winning streak, the Cardinals’ coach is focused more on developing the team than chalking up victories.

“Everyday we just focus on the fundamentals,” Baruth said. “Winning and losing are not things we are concerned with, with this team or any team.

“We just want to make some strides in a positive way towards improvement.”

The Cardinals will kick off GLIAC play at 8 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 8 when they host Ohio Dominican at O’Neill Arena.

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