After starting the game on a 16-0 run, the Wayne State men’s basketball team (12-7, 9-4 GLIAC) cruised to a 92-57 victory over the Lake Erie College Storm (7-11, 2-9 GLIAC) Jan. 28 at the Matthaei.
A stifling defense and precise shooting got the Warriors off to a quick start. They hit their first 10 shots of the game, while forcing Lake Erie to turn the ball over on each of its first five possessions.
“I thought our guys came out really aggressive,” Warriors head coach David Greer said. “We executed really well (and) shot extremely well.”
Lake Erie scored its first points of the game at the 15:54 mark, a jumper by Matt Grendel. That did not slow down the Warriors though, as Lake Erie was only able to get as close as 13 points in the half.
A triple by junior forward Ian Larkin as the halftime buzzer sounded pushed the Warriors lead to 29 at 52-23. Larkin led the team with 22 points
WSU shot 65.5 percent (21-for-32) from the field in the first half – which is what it shot for the game (36-for-55) – and shot 60 percent from 3-point land.
The Warriors forced 12 Lake Erie turnovers in the first half and 20 for the game – scoring 29 points off those turnovers.
“Our defensive pressure was really good to start the game,” Greer said, who sees a correlation between the team’s effort on defense with its success on offense.
“They sort of go with the offensive flow. If they’re making their shots they tend to want to pick up their defense,” he added. “We’re trying to reverse that tide and start the game from a defensive standpoint and generate offense off our (forced) turnovers.”
Coming out with a 29-point lead for the second half, Greer did not want his players to get complacent.
“We wanted the guys to maintain the same intensity,” he said. “Whenever we’re leading at halftime, we say the score is 0-0 and all we got to do is win the second half.”
After a sluggish start, “win the second half” is exactly what the Warriors did.
They used the same formula that got them the huge lead in the first half: hot shooting and pressuring defense.
WSU outscored Lake Erie 40-34 in the second half, leading by as many as 39 points.
Larkin – who added four assists and four rebounds – led four Warriors in double figures. Also finishing in double figures was senior guard Stacey Waters with 20 points, while sophomore forward Bryan Coleman and senior center Ike Udanoh contributed with 14 points each. Udanoh also added 11 rebounds.
WSU will head north for a two-game road trip against Northern Michigan on Feb. 2 and Michigan Tech on Feb. 4.
“It’s always tough when you take that trip,” Greer said. “Both of those places are tough places to play, but at this point and time, we just got to take them one at a time.”