For only the 2nd time in program history the Tiffin University Dragons defeated the Grand Valley State Lakers 80-72. The last win came during the 1985 season, and it's the first time the Dragons have ever defeated Grand Valley State on the road.
Grand Valley jumped on the Dragons out of the gate, compiling an 18-8 lead at the 14:21 mark of the 1st half. The Lakers' lead continued to swell, hitting its largest at 30-17 with 08:33 to play in the 1st half. Tiffin kept their head down and went to work on chipping away at their deficit. The Dragons powered back with a 17-4 run to tie the game at 34-34. Tiffin continued to keep the heat on the Lakers, and carried a 38-36 lead to the half.
"We struggled early making shots," said Head Coach Jerry Buccilla. "But we made defensive adjustments and started more pressing. That pressure affected Grand Valley, especially in the last seven minutes of the first half."
At the break, Tiffin was hitting 45.5% of their shots from the field, and 41.7% of their three point attempts. Khaleal McCormick led Tiffin in scoring, pouring in 13 1st half points. Juwan Johnson added 10 points on 50% shooting from the field, and Austin Adams netted nine points.
The Lakers made a run to start the 2nd half, rolling ahead on a 15-4 run to lead 51-44. Tiffin withstood Grand Valley's run, and tied the score at 54-54 with 13:11 left to play. The Dragons then exploded for a 13-2 run to take their largest lead at 67-56. Tiffin maintained a solid lead throughout the 2nd half, with the Lakers closing the gap to five points with 28 seconds left. Tiffin, hitting 13 2nd half free throws, put the game on ice with a pair of Juwan Johnson free throws to seal an 80-72 victory.
"Our subs - especially Tony Kynard, Terrell Mabins, and Brandon Wilkins - gave us great energy off the bench. It allowed us to play 28 minutes of 94 foot basketball due to our depth and energy. It wore them down," said Buccilla.
Tiffin finished the game hitting 47.5% of their shots from the field, 42.1% of their three point attempts, and 72.7% of their free throw attempts. Tiffin took advantage of the Lakers' 14 turnovers, converting them into 22 points. Khaleal McCormick added 13 more points in the 2nd half, totaling 26 for the game on 9 of 14 shooting from the field. Juwan Johnson added 17 points, and Austin Adams scored 14 points and collected eight rebounds.
The win moves the Dragons to 5-6 overall and 2-3 in GLIAC play.