By Aaron Stoner
The Grand Rapids Community College men’s basketball team battled the Aquinas Saints in the second contest of the double header at Sturrus Sports and Fitness center with an impressive victory bringing their record to 6-4 on the season.
A sluggish start though with both teams playing scrappy defense saw a low scoring beginning to the contest.
It was the play from sophomore Ike Kanu though that helped spark the Raiders and give them an early 17-15 lead.
“I thought Ike was big for us in the first half,” head coach Luke Bronkema said. “He was a big contributor and after we adjusted our help defense on the perimeter, I liked how we managed the rest of the half and built a strong lead.”
Kanu would finish the contest with 12 points on 6-12 shooting.
With the Raiders leading by three at halftime, baskets would be tough to come by in the beginning stages of the second half.
Both teams would grind out possessions, but a massive three-pointer from sophomore guard Sammie Ryans, and a strong put back layin from Kanu stretched the Raiders’ lead to nine, forcing a Saints timeout.
A gorgeous 15-footer from the elbow, as well as a nice put back by center Diego Robinson, thanks to a lovely assist from freshman Camren Spicer, pushed the lead to 15.
Tight, aggressive defense forcing back-to-back turnovers helped keep the momentum for the Raiders.
Ultimately though, it was the fiery play off the bench from Spicer that helped cement the Raiders’ win.
“Cam is a big energy guy for us,” Bronkema said. “He’s definitely become our go to sixth man and provides our guys with a big lift when we need it.“
Spicer nailed a three from the corner late in the fourth, and finished as the Raiders’ leading scorer with 17 points on 7-10 shooting from the floor, icing the game with a 90-71 win.
Ryans added 15, shooting 50 percent from behind the three point line, with Robinson notching 14 points as well as seven rebounds.
With the Raiders getting set for a little break until their next stretch of games, Bronkema pointed towards home as a welcome reprieve.
“It’s definitely been an adjustment with travel, playing at different gyms, and not having our home facilities,” Bronkema said. “So it will be great to have our home court back and just a place where everything is in the same space.“
The men play their first home game at the revamped and completely renovated Ford Fieldhouse Jan. 11 against Lansing Community College at 7:30 p.m.