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Second Half Ashland Comeback Prevents First GLIAC Win for Lake Erie
The Lake Erie College men's basketball team led by as much as 11 points in the second half and by eight with 6:22 to play, but an 18-6 run to close the game gave Ashland University a 68-64 victory in the GLIAC home opener for the Storm at the Osborne Center Arena in Painesville, Ohio.
The Eagles improve to 4-3 and 1-2 in the GLIAC while Lake Erie falls to 2-5 and 0-3 in conference play. The loss was the Storm's first at home this season (2-1) and fifth straight overall.
Lake Erie was led by senior guard Ethan Bradshaw (Cincinnati, Ohio/Harmony Prep) who was in double-figures for the fifth time in six games with a team-high 19 points. Also in double-figures for the Storm was junior Brandon Smith (Bedford, Ohio/Bedford/Cuyahoga Community College) with 10 marks. Ashland's comeback was spurred by 5-5 guard David Harris who had a game-high 22 off the bench, 18 of which came in the second half.
Ashland held at least a share of the lead for the first nine minutes before Lake Erie took its first lead at 14-12 at 10:53 in the half on a jumper by senior guard Antonio Kidd (Cleveland, Ohio/Lakewood). The Eagles quickly retied the game at 14-14, but the Storm went on a 9-2 run to take their biggest lead of the first half at 23-16 with 8:18 to play on a jumper by junior Matt Grendel (Independence, Ohio/Independence). Ashland scored eight straight points to retake the lead at 24-23 and the game was tied twice in the final two minutes of the half before a Bradshaw jumper in the final 10 seconds gave the Storm a 29-27 advantage at the break.
Lake Erie scored seven of the first eight points out of the break capped off by a Bradshaw jumper which made the score 36-28 with 18:41 in the game. The Storm extended that advantage to a game-high 11 at 43-32 on a free throw by sophomore center Garrick Sims (Barberton, Ohio/Barberton) at 15:28. The Eagles closed the gap to three on three separate occasions but the Lake Erie reopened an eight point lead at the 6:22 mark on a Sims free throw.
Over the next three minutes, Ashland would go on a 12-0 which gave them a 62-58 advantage with 3:09 to play. Their first lead of the second half came in the midst of that run on a three-pointer by Harris at the 3:42 mark. The Storm got within three at 62-59 on a Sims free throw at 2:45 but it was the last time they would be within one possession as Lake Erie went 5:31 without a field goal until a Bradshaw three-pointer made the score 66-62 with 1:14 to play. Two Harris free throws in the final minute helped seal the game for the Eagles as a Smith layup in the closing seconds gave the final 68-64 margin.
Ashland outscored Lake Erie 40-20 in the paint, which helped the Eagles to a 54.0-43.4% shooting edge. The Eagles were particularly strong in the second half shooting 65.2% (15-of-23).
The Storm returns to action next Saturday, when they host Northwood (Mich.) University in the first half of a men's and women's GLIAC doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m.