Lake Erie Competes Against Higher Level Program

VERMILLION, S.D. (February 2, 2009) - Lake Erie College made program history Monday night, taking on transitional Division I opponent University of South Dakota. The Storm has never before played a team with that high of an NCAA status. The Storm held its own in the first half against the Coyotes, before eventually losing the road game, 85-52, to the team that has now won 15 straight.

Lake Erie fell behind by three on the opening tip, but for the first 10 minutes, never let the host's lead increase to double digits. The Storm was within four at 14:22 after a layup by senior Derrick Thornton (University Heights, Ohio/Lutheran East) which made it 16-12. After falling behind by 11, the Storm brought the score back to within six at 7:37 on a triple shot by sophomore Ethan Bradshaw (Cincinnati, Ohio/Harmony Prep), making it 31-25.

The first half concluded with the Coyotes ahead, 46-34. The hometown favorites went to the line 15 times in the period, sinking 11, while Lake Erie was just 2-for-4 from the same spot.

South Dakota improved its shooting in the second half, going 15-for-26 from the field for 58-percent as the Storm shot a chilly 17-percent from the floor, hitting only six of its 35 attempts.

Senior Rick Leasure (Concord, Ohio/Concord) led the Storm with 16 points and had six rebounds. Thornton added 15 points and freshman Matt Grendel (Independence, Ohio/Independence) was the team's leading rebounder with eight.

Lake Erie (6-16) hosts Urbana University on Saturday at 4 p.m. Lake Erie won the first meeting of the season on the road, 86-79.