PREVIEW: Lake Erie Heads To Florida For Winter Park Rotary Tangerine Tournament (LIVE STATS & VIDEO)

Jamil Dudley
Jamil Dudley

NCAA Division II - Men's Basketball
Lake Erie College (4-4, 1-3 GLIAC) at Winter Park Rotary Tangerine Tournament hosted by Rollins College
Thursday December 29: Lake Erie College at Rollins College (7-2), 7:00 p.m.
Friday December 30: Lake Erie College vs. California (Pa.) (6-4)/West Georgia (11-1), 5:00 or 7:00 p.m.

Venue: Harold & Ted Alfond Sports Center – Winter Park, Fla.
Live Stats:
http://www.rollinssports.com/liveStats/liveStats.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=19500
Video Broadcast:
http://www.rollinssports.com/liveEvents/liveEvents.dbml?&&DB_OEM_ID=19500
Up Next for LEC:  January 4 vs. Urbana, 7:30 p.m.

STORM LOOKS FOR TO CLIMB ABOVE .500 AT HOLDAY TOURNAMENT: The Lake Erie College men's basketball team to move above .500 and take home the tournament crown as it travels to Winter Park, Fla. for the Winter Park Rotary Tangerine Tournament hosted by Rollins College.  The Storm (4-4, 1-3 GLIAC) will take on host Rollins in the opening round Thursday and will be matched up with California (Pa.) or West Georgia Friday depending on the outcomes of Thursday night's contests.  Lake Erie is coming off its first conference win Dec. 17 as it defeated Northwood (Mich.), 62-60, after previously dropping three straight GLIAC games to Hillsdale College (62-56), Wayne State University (67-56) and Ashland University (73-54).

LAST TIME OUT: Sophomore guard Nate Tait (South Euclid, Ohio/Brush/Alderson-Broaddus) hit a jumper with one second left to lift Lake Erie to a thrilling 62-60 win over host Northwood University on Saturday night (Dec. 17) at the E.W. Bennett Sports Center in Midland, Mich. Sophomore Rich Austin (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius) led all players with 22 points, his second 20-point game of the season.  He was the only Storm player in double figures.

SERIES NOTES: This is the first meeting between Lake Erie and Rollins and would be versus West Georgia as well.  The Storm played California (Pa.) four times over the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons and recorded a 1-3 record.  On November 22, 2008, Lake Erie defeated Cal, 50-46, for its first victory as a member of NCAA Division II.

OPPOSITION POSITION: Rollins started the season off 7-0, propelling the Tars to a No. 10 ranking in the NABC Division II poll before dropping its last two games before the holiday.  West Georgia (11-1) joins Rollins in the also receiving votes section of the latest poll while Cal (6-4) defeated Chestnut Hill, (88-48), last game to snap a four-game losing streak.

AUSTIN ALL-IN: Sophomore Rich Austin has made a huge leap after a solid freshman season. Austin is averaging 13.8 ppg. and 6.9 rpg, leading the team in both categories. He has reached double figure scoring in six of the eight games this season. The Cleveland St. Ignatius grad averaged 6.0 ppg. as a freshman.

THREE-POINT THWARTING: Lake Erie is leading the GLIAC in three-point defense this season, holding opponents to just .307 (42-of-137) on attempts from behind the arc. 

STORM SWIPING IT: This season, the Storm has averaged 8.5 steals per game, good for fourth in the conference.  Two Lake Erie players, sophomore guards Riley Thomas (Cardington, Ohio/Cardington-Lincoln) and Nate Tait, rank in the top ten in the GLIAC with 1.4 and 1.2 seals per game, good for seventh and eighth, respectively. 

NON-CONFERENCE NUMBERS: Lake Erie has been strong this season in non-conference play, going 3-1 overall and 3-0 against NCAA Division II opponents. The GLIAC as a whole has been one of the top conferences in the country, going 44-27 in non-conference play.

A LOOK AHEAD: The Storm is off until the new year as they will play their final non-conference game of the season, as they host Urbana University, Wednesday January 4 at 7:30 p.m.

-LEC-