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The Lakes opened up their basketball season on Saturday night, falling just short to the RedHawks of Indiana University-Northwest, 71-68 in overtime.

The Crusaders took control right out of the gate, grabbing a quick 16-6 lead with twelve minutes left in the first half, the largest lead of the game for both sides. The RedHawks quickly climbed back though, and were within a point of Great Lakes, 29-28, at halftime.

IUNW took the lead to start the second half, and managed to hold it for most of the second half, despite never leading by more than seven. With 15 seconds left in the half, IUNW lead 61-58 and GLCC had the ball. Troy Aubrey spun past his defender before kicking it out to Kyle Downing, who hit the three to tie the game at 61 with 3.3 seconds to go. The RedHawks were unable to score on their final possession, and the game went to overtime.

IUNW grabbed the lead straight out of the gate and lead 68-63 with two minutes left in the period. With 33.7 seconds remaining, and having cut the lead to 68-66, the Lakes lost a costly turnover which the RedHawks were able to turn into a four point lead. The three pointer from Brandon Jones on the next possession made the score 70-69, and the Crusaders quickly fouled IUNW with 5.6 seconds to go. The RedHawks converted both free throws and GLCC had one more chance to force another overtime. Unfortunately, the rim denied Downing’s final three-point effort and the Lakes fell short, 72-69.

After the game, the players were somewhat disappointed, but optimistic. “We have a great team,” said senior Michael Vickers after the game, “but with 22 turnovers and at least six missed free throws we lost this game ourselves, so I feel like for the first time Great Lakes controlled their own destiny.”

“I feel good going into the next game,” said team co-captain Troy Aubrey, “We definitely could learn a lot from this. We have a lot of things to work on, but we played a good game. I think we’ll get better each game. We’re still learning how to play with each other.”

He also said, “(I) love the student section. I think they brought a lot of energy to the game. They got me pumped. They were into the game and we use that energy on the floor. We played off that energy and I look forward to them at every game.”

Game Notes: Garrett Abner left the game in the first half with a hamstring injury and did not return. He is expected to have an MRI, per assistant coach Carmichael Gully. The game was a ‘pink out’ in recognition of women’s health month, and the student section was decked out in pink. Many of the GLCC players wore pink accessories as well, including pink t-shirts under their uniforms, and pink socks.

Up Next: The Lakes will take on Grace College (not that Grace, the one in Indiana) on Saturday in Indiana at 3:00.