ALLENDALE, Mich. -- The Purdue University Northwest men's basketball team (7-15) connected on 50% of its shots from downtown (18-36) and answered a late Grand Valley State run to defeat the Grand Valley State Lakers (12-10) 78-74, Thursday Night.
Senior Chandler Spring (Covington, Ind./Covington) came off the bench with a strong 15-point performance while freshman Dean Tate (Indianapolis, Ind./Warren Central) added 14 points including a quartet of three-point field goals.
Franklin Nunn (Anderson, Ind./Liberty Christian) added a pair of clutch trifectas down the stretch and finished with 13 points while Tim Gilmore (Lancaster, Calif./Palmdale) notched 12 points in the victory.
The Pride, who played in their second contest this season on ESPN 3, came out of the gates swinging, as they connected on three consecutive three-pointers to take a 18-13 lead. The Lakers continued to trade twos for threes with PNW as they hit just 25% of their attempts from downtown. The Pride took a 13-point lead into the break.
A continuing trend for the Black and Gold has been points off turnovers, as the Pride absolutely dominated the category in the opening frame with an advantage of 15-2. The Pride also outrebounded the Lakers 17-16, something that has been their downfall this season.
GVSU played lights out to start the second half, trimming a lead that increased to 19 with a Tim Gilmore three-pointer at the 18:31 mark of the second half. The Lakers found their shooting stroke in the second half and were able to tie the game on a Hunter Hale jumper with 11:25 remaining. GVSU even pushed the lead out to six after free throws from Hale with 5:36 left.
Frank Nunn, who has been up and down this season with playing time, provided 22 crucial minutes off the bench and hit the lead-taking three off the kick-out from Dean Tate with just over three and a half minutes to play. Spring then provided the dagger with 2:48 to play, fading away and burying one with a defender in his face.
Nunn ended up leading the team with six rebounds as he and Spring led the Pride with veteran leadership down the stretch. The Pride also had one of their most efficient games of the season offensively, as they committed just ten turnovers on the day.
Head Coach Boomer Roberts
"How about our guys and the toughness they showed tonight? They were locked in mentally, and we needed all of it. We have a lot of respect for the firepower Grand Valley has, by our guys weren’t intimidated by the moment. We controlled the first half by guarding well, but they made a big run in the second half to take the lead. We talked a lot this week about handling adversity, and our guys learned from the past, choosing to respond instead of react. Dean was fantastic, Chandler, Timmy, and Lukas banged some big threes, and Frank played his best game of the year as he moved further into the rotation with Palmer unable to play. It was a testament to our culture that we’re building - we were all about love, joy, and toughness tonight. The fellas are happy, but not satisfied, so we’ll prepare and give a great Davenport team our best shot on Saturday."
Up next, PNW will stay in Grand Rapids as they take on the Davenport Panthers Saturday afternoon. That game will tip-off at 2 p.m. CT from the Student Center.