SAULT STE. MARIE – The Lake Superior State men’s basketball team used a five-week schedule against challenging Great Lakes Valley Conference competition to prepare for its long-awaited season opener against eighth-ranked Findlay.
The Lakers (6-0) and Oilers (3-0) meet at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Bud Cooper Gymnasium for the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opener for both teams. The LSSU and UF women play the matinee game at 5:30 p.m.
Both games will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio 1400 with a pay-per-view video webcast on the AmericaOne Network. On Saturday, the Lakers play a men’s and women’s double-header against Hillsdale beginning at 1 p.m. at Cooper Gym.
The LSSU-Findlay men’s basketball clash is a rematch of the 2013 GLIAC Tournament championship game, which the Oilers won, 75-69. The Lakers are 1-16 all-time against UF, which was unanimously picked to win the 2014 GLIAC South Division title and is led by GLIAC Pre-Season Player of the Year, Greg Kahlig.
The GLIAC’s top scorers during the pre-conference portion of the season include Hillsdale’s Tim Dezelski (6-6, 230), who ranks third at 25.0 points per game, Kahalig (6-6, 215), who is sixth at 21.7 ppg, and LSSU senior guard Derek Billing (6-2, 185), who is seventh at 21.5 ppg.
LSSU is also led in scoring by senior center Cameron Metz (6-6, 225), who averages 17.2 ppg and shoots an amazing 70 percent from the field, junior forward Alex Williams at 14.0 ppg, and junior guard Tony Harris at 12.0 ppg.
Billing ranks second in the league in average three-point field goals per game at 3.5, while Dezelski is fifth at 3.0. Findlay’s Dylan Kaufman and LSSU’s Williams are tied for eighth at 2.7 three-point field goals per game. Harris ranks third in the league in assists, averaging 5.8 apg, while Williams is eighth at 4.8. Metz ranks seventh in the league in field goal percentage.
Findlay averages a league-leading 49.0 rebounds per game. LSSU is ninth at 38.0 and Hillsdale is 12th at 33.5. Individually, Dezelski ranks second at 9.0 rpg, and LSSU sophomore Devin Daly is 10th at 7.3 rpg while coming off the bench.
The LSSU women’s team is 0-4 and seeks its first victory of the year against either Findlay (2-0) or Hillsdale (1-3). The league's top scorers heading into this week’s games are Hillsdale’s Megan Fogt, who ranks third at 20.8 ppg, Findlay’s Karli Bonar, who is eighth at 16.0 ppg, and Lacey Kessler, who is 12th at 14.5 ppg. LSSU’s Kandace Crittendon ranks 22nd at 12.2 ppg.
Fogt also leads the league in rebounding, averaging 18.2 rpg, while LSSU’s Laura VanEs is ninth at 7.2 rpg. Kessler is shooting a league-leading 80 percent from the field, followed by Fogt at 69.6 percent.
The South Division's Findlay and Malone (4-0) are the only unbeatens in the GLIAC women's standings. Every GLIAC North Division women’s team has at least one loss.