Storm’s Upset Bid Thwarted By Second Half Struggles

Matt Grendel
Matt Grendel

PAINESVILLE, OHIO – Lake Erie College (7-10, 2-8 GLIAC) held its ground at the University of Findlay (14-4, 8-3 GLIAC) for one half, leading by as much as seven and trailing by a single point at halftime before wearing down in an 80-55 loss at Croy Gymnasium in Findlay, Ohio. 

The Storm had a balanced offensive attack with six players scoring at least six points.  Senior forward Matt Grendel (Independence, Ohio/Independence) and sophomore guard Riley Thomas (Cardington, Ohio/Cardington-Lincoln) led the way with nine points each.  Guard Aaron Robinson led Findlay with a game-high 17 points. 

Lake Erie shot a solid 46.8% (22-of-47) from the field including 50.0% on three-pointers (six-of-12).  However they ran into a red-hot Oilers squad which shot 61.9% (26-of-42) from the field and matched them at 50.0% (nine-of-18) on threes.  Findlay also held a 32-21 edge on the glass. 

The Oilers, which have now won 115 of their last 116 regular season home contests, came out firing as forward Greg Kahlig opened the game with two straight threes for a 6-0 lead.  Grendel matched him with back-to-back threes to tie the game but Findlay scored seven straight points with two Robinson field goals and another Kahlig three to open a 13-6 advantage.  That lead stretched to 21-10 before Lake Erie shocked the home crowd with a 27-9 run over the next nine minutes.  The Storm took their first lead 28-27 at 7:19 on a layup by sophomore guard Justin Roth (Parma, Ohio/Parma) and stretched the margin to a game-high seven points at 37-30 on a layup by junior guard Alex Davis (Macedonia, Ohio/Nordonia).  Findlay scored the last eight points of the half to go to the break with momentum and a 38-37 lead. 

Sophomore guard Nate Tait (South Euclid, Ohio/Brush/Alderson-Broaddus) tied the score at 40-40 with a three-pointer in the first minute of the second half but the Oilers went on to score eight straight points and never look back.  Findlay's lead reached double-digits at 58-47 on a Jack Smith three-point play at 11:47 and would stay there for good after responding to a three-pointer from redshirt freshman guard Jamil Dudley (Massillon, Ohio/Massillon) seconds later.   Sophomore forward Rich Austin (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius) connected on a layup to make the score 66-55 with 7:12 to play but it was Lake Erie's last score as it came up empty on its final nine possessions of the game. 

The Storm continues their road trip Saturday at Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich. with a 3:00 p.m. tipoff. 

-LEC-