By Craig Beilfuss
MUSKEGON—Coming off their first loss of the season Saturday to Ferndale, Muskegon head coach Keith Guy was looking to see how his Big Reds team would respond on Tuesday evening in an OK Conference-Green matchup with Grand Rapids Union.
It took four minutes for Muskegon to get going offensively but once they did, they cruised past the Red Hawks 79-41.
“First, I am thankful that we could play and have the opportunity to play covid free and win,” said Guy.
“We had to be patient. We didn’t come out and play with the sense of urgency that I was hoping for in the first half,” Guy said.
The Red Hawks led 4-1 in the first quarter and held Muskegon to one free throw in the first four minutes before the Big Reds closed out the final four minutes of the quarter on an 11-2 run, including a monsterous dunk from junior Ja’Den Walker. Five players from Muskegon found the scoring column in the first eight minutes.
The Big Reds increased the lead in the second stanza, opening up with a 9-0 spurt as David Day III hit a 3-point shot, two free throws, a 2-point bucket to go along with a basket from M’Khi Guy and Muskegon had a 21-8 lead.
The Big Reds defense held the Union offense scoreless until the 4:22 mark in the quarter.
Muskegon held the scoring advantage in the quarter 17-12 to take a 29-18 halftime lead.
The Big Reds put the game away in the third quarter and completely controlled the second half.
Walker scored 11 third quarter points, hitting three 3-point shots and a two point shot and Terrance Davis hit two baskets and a couple of free throws for six points in the quarter which saw the Big Reds rack up a 25-9 scoring advantage and carry a huge 54-27 lead into the fourth quarter.
Eight players scored for Muskegon in the final eight minutes where the Big Reds enjoyed a 25-14 scoring edge.
“We had better intensity in the second half” said Guy. “We had much better tempo and the guys responded after the first half.”
Three Big Reds hit for double digits led by junior Anthony Sydnor III with 14 points. Junior Ja’Den Walker finished with 13 points and junior David Day III chipped in with 12 points. Muskegon went 23-of-34 from the free throw line as Union committed 28 personal fouls.
Genesis Kemp led Union with 15 points.
Muskegon improves to 12-1 overall and remains perfect in the OK Conference-Green with a 9-0 record. The Big Reds will travel to Wyoming on Friday evening.