Lakers Host Rival Ashland in GLIAC Opener

LSSU signs Hettinga to four year extension

Cullen Maksimowski, LSSULakers.com

 

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich.—After a 5-1 start to the regular season, the Lake Superior State men's basketball team will dive into Great Lakes Intercollegiate Conference action Thursday as it hosts Ashland at 7:30 p.m. inside Bud Cooper Gymnasium.

 

The Lakers, who are coming off two victories over Delta State and Shorter in the Kentucky Wesleyan Thanksgiving Classic, will take on an Eagles squad that is also off to 5-1 start.

 

"We got through our preseason nicely and I think our guys played well together throughout," said Lake Superior coach Steve Hettinga. "Certainly happy with the way we've played thus far.

 

"When the (GLIAC) season comes around things wrench up and it doesn't get any harder than playing Ashland out of the gate."

 

Thursday's matchup with AU will offer the Lakers the opportunity to rid themselves of the bad taste left by Eagles last season as they ended the LSSU's season in the first round of the GLIAC tournament.

 

"I'm sure (facing Ashland) is something the guys have talked about privately," Hettinga said. "It's not something we've disused as a team. We're not looking for revenge, we know how good Ashland is this season and that, in its own right, is enough to have our focus on."

 

To this point in the season, Lake Superior has been anchored by the steady play of their three senior starters Akaemji Williams, Michael Nicholson and Josh Goldschmidt.

 

Williams, a guard, has been the offensive catalyst this season and currently leads the GLIAC in assists averaging seven per game. Williams also ranks No.3 in the conference and leads the team in scoring averaging 20.2 points.

 

Nicholson has been a consistent force in the post for the Lake State averaging 8.8 boards per contest which ranks No.2 in the league. Nicholson is also posting a 12.8 points per game so far this year.

 

Goldschmidt, a guard, is averaging 9.7 per game and leads the team with a 48.8 percentage from beyond the arc this season. 

 

"It's been their leadership; All three of them are really embracing that role," said Hettinga. "Especially with Akaemji Williams leading our team. You certainly want your best player being the best leader and that's been the case for us this year. It's made a huge difference in our team."

 

LSSU has also received some solid production from the bench in the early parts of the year with sophomore Malek Adams headlining that group. Adams is averaging 8.2 points per contest and leads the GLIAC in shooting efficiency with a 72 percent field goal percentage. 

 

"He has been a great spark for us," Hettinga said of Adams. "Anytime you have your starting five out there you hope the guys on the bench can raise our level of play and Malek has done that for us."

 

Lake State enters play averaging 81.3 points per game and are shooting 51.3 percent from the field including a 39.3 percent clip from three-point range.

 

Ashland's offense is led by Wendell Davis who is averaging 24.7 points per game which leads the GLIAC. Drew Noble is second on the team averaging 16.5.

 

After the Thursday's clash, the Lakers will welcome in Tiffin for another GLIAC matchup on Saturday Dec.2 at 3 p.m.

 

Tickets may be purchased at the Norris Center Ticket Office or by visiting lssulakers.com/tickets. For additional ticket information call 906-635-2601.