ALLENDALE, Mich. – With 8:58 left in the second half, the AU men's basketball team trimmed Grand Valley State's lead down to four points on a three-point play by junior forward Evan Yates (Cincinnati, Ohio/Walnut Hills).
The Eagles trailed by 17 points, 37-20, at halftime, but could not pull off the comeback at the GVSU Fieldhouse Arena in Allendale, Mich., on Thursday (Feb. 9) night, 64-51.
The comeback was fueled by sharp 3-point shooting by junior guard Ronnie Steward (Columbus, Ohio/Akron), who had all 10 of his points at halftime, and junior guard David Harris (Cincinnati, Ohio/Florida). Harris scored a season-high 10 points in 19 minutes off the bench. He was 2-for-5 from 3-point range.
Yates led the Eagles (13-9, 8-7 GLIAC) with 18 points and five rebounds. He shot 7-for-10 from the field.
The Lakers (13-9, 9-6 GLIAC) dominated the first half, allowing the Eagles to make just nine field goals. AU took just eight free throws in the game, three in the first half. Meanwhile, the Lakers shot 16-for-20 from the line.
AU had trouble dealing with the Lakers' 2-3 zone defense that suffocated Yates on the inside and prevented the Eagles from getting dribble penetration into the lane.
The Eagles out-shot the Lakers for the game. The AU defense held the Lakers to just 40 percent (22-for-55) from the field overall. The difference came in the rebounding totals as the Lakers held a 37-22 advantage on the glass.
Sophomore forward Will Evans (Lexington, Ky./Christian Academy) struggled from the field, but pulled down five rebounds, handed out four assists and blocked three shots.
James Thomas led the Lakers with 17 points and 10 rebounds and Tony Peters and Nick Waddell added 13 apiece.
The Eagles will look to rebound on Saturday (Feb. 11) in a tough matchup at Ferris State. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m.