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Shocked: MSU upset by Grand Valley

The MSU men’s basketball team expected a battle from a talented Grand Valley State team in its first exhibition game Friday night. But even for as much respect as the Spartans gave the Lakers prior to the game, a loss to their Division II opponent was no where on their radar.

Until it happened.

The Lakers upset the Spartans in MSU-type fashion by playing, out-working and out-rebounding the Spartans, winning 85-82 in double overtime.

Down 83-78 with a little more than a minute to go in double overtime, senior guard Travis Walton stripped Laker guard Jason Jamerson of an inbound pass. The ball was picked up by freshman guard Kalin Lucas, who was fouled under the basket, and sank both free throw attempts to make the score 83-80 with 1:07 left.

The next time down the court freshman guard Chris Allen was fouled after picking up another stripped ball by Walton, and made both free throws to put the Spartans within one with 44 seconds to play.

With ten seconds left, Grand Valley guard Alvin Storrs found center Callistus Eziukwu open under the basket, who put it in for two to give the Lakers a three-point lead.

The Spartans came out of a timeout with four second remaining for one last shot, but senior guard Drew Neitzel’s three point attempt came up short, giving the Lakers the win.

The trip to overtime came after Neitzel hit two free throws with four seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 65 a piece.

In the first overtime the Spartans had an opportunity to win the game with a 75-73 lead and 12 seconds remaining, but after a timeout was called by Izzo, Walton’s inbound pass was stolen by Jamerson, who took the ball down court and laid it in to tie the game at 75.

“The effort (was) the most disappointing,” MSU head coach Tom Izzo said.

“I think the freshmen had a little more tenacity than some of the upperclassmen. Drew Neitzel played pretty hard and Travis played OK, but after that the freshmen definitely played with more tenacity.”

While Izzo took most of blame because of juggled lineups and calling the timeout late in the first overtime, Neitzel also said that the effort shown by the Spartans was not up to MSU standards.

“I think some guys played their butts off and some guys didn’t,” he said. “To play at this level, to wear this uniform, it’s unacceptable not to give 110 percent every time you step on the court. I think some guys take for granted where they’re at, so we have to work some things out and make guys realize how fortunate they are to be in a program like this and perform every night.”

The Spartans were led by Allen, who scored 15 points, while Neitzel and Lucas each had 12. Senior forward Marquise Gray and freshman guard Durrell Summers led the team in rebounds with eight and seven, respectively.

Jamerson led all scorers with 19 points, while Laker forward Justin Ringler had 16. Eziukwu also had 15 points and seven rebounds.

Lucas, who played all ten minutes of overtime, said the exhibition loss was a big wake up call for the team.

“Now we know as a team we have to be ready,” he said.

“If it’s Grand Valley or if it’s Purdue – it doesn’t matter what team it is. We have to come out ready and make sure we have intensity and just play hard and be ready for anything.”

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