SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The Lake Superior State men's basketball team tipped off its season with an exhibition matchup against the Cornerstone College Golden Eagles of the NAIA on Monday, October 23rd. The Lakers defeated the defending national runners-up 79-64 at the Bud Cooper Gymnasium.
Lake Superior (0-0, 0-0 GLIAC) opened the scoring with a 3 pointer from Josh Goldschmidt, on their way to earning the first 8 points of the game. A three-pointer from Ke'Montrece Collins put the Lakers ahead by 13 points with 4:45 left in the first half.
Despite jumping out to a lead, however, Cornerstone slowly chiseled away at it by scoring the final ten points of the first half, capped by five points from Christian Rodriguez. The run by the Golden Eagles sent both teams back to the locker room with the Lakers holding a slim 32-29 lead going into halftime.
"I thought we played in spurts today," said Lakers head coach Steve Hettinga. "This was a good opponent, as the defending national runner up. I thought some of our freshmen were a bit too eager, but this was their first game at this level."
Coming out of halftime, Cornerstone managed to trim the Lakers' lead down to one before a three-pointer from Akaemji Williams put the Lakers back on track. Williams went on to score the next four points for Lake Superior, giving them an 8 point lead.
As the quarter wore on, Lake Superior pulled away from the Golden Eagles. The Lakers' bench, including Collins, Lance Monroe, Rog Stein and Jackson Schrameyer helped provide a spark to help put the Lakers over the top. A dunk from Monroe gave Lake Superior a 15 point lead to end the game.
Leading the way for the Lakers was Akaemji Williams with 17 points, followed by Blake Marquardt with 13 and Mike Nicholson with 12. Nicholson grabbed a game-high 9 rebounds, while Josh Goldschmidt had four steals, the most from either team.
Cornerstone was led by Christian Rodriguez with 14 points and Sam VanderSluis with 13. Forward Kyle Steigenga had 12 points plus 7 rebounds.
The Lakers continue exhibition play this Saturday, when they face the Warriors of Indiana Tech. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m. at the Bud Cooper Gymnasium.
"Indiana Tech plays in the same conference as Cornerstone. They're a little more athletic, so it should be a good challenge for us," said Hettinga.
Tickets may be purchased at the Norris Center Ticket Office or at lssulakers.com/tickets.