PAINESVILLE, OHIO—After trailing for most of the night, the Lake Erie College men's basketball team came back to take their first lead of the game with 8:27 to play, but were unable to hold onto it as Lake Superior State University retook the lead 2:07 to play and pulled out a 67-62 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference win Monday night (Dec. 17) in Painesville.
The Storm (3-5, 0-4 GLIAC) were led by juniors Rich Austin (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius) and Riley Thomas (Cardington, Ohio/Cardington-Lincoln) who picked up game highs of 20 points apiece. Fourteen of Austin's 20 points came in the second half.
The visiting Lakers (4-4, 2-3 GLIAC) started the game hitting a pair of three-pointers and would not relinquish the lead in the first half, owning a 31-25 advantage going into the break. Lake Superior State shot 55.6% (five-of-nine) from behind the arch in the first half while holding the Storm to an uncharacteristically low one-of-seven. Derek Billing recorded 10 first-half points for the Lakers, going a two-of-two from behind the arch. Thomas led the Storm with 11 points in the first, hitting five-of-seven shots from the floor.
Lake Erieclosed the gap in the opening minutes of the second half, finding themselves down just three with 9:16 to play. Austin tied the game at 48 following an old-fashioned three-point play and sophomore Jamil Dudley (Massillon, Ohio/Massillon) gave the Storm their first lead of the game with a baseline jumper that made it 50-48.
Lake Superior State tied the game at 57 with 3:14 left. After a minute without either team scoring, the Lakers took a 59-57 edge and then hit eight free-throws in the final 23 seconds to close it out.
The Lakers edged the Storm in shooting (47.5%-46.9%) and rebounds (27-23). The Storm went four-of-20 (20%) from behind the arch while the Lakers hit 50% (six-of-12).
Four Lakers scored in double digits- Derek Kinney, Cameron Metz (14), Alex Williams (10), and Derek Billing (16). Kinney picked up 19 points and a game-high seven rebounds. As a team, Lake Superior shot 82.1% (23-of-28) from the free-throw line.
Austin led the Storm with six boards and shot seven-of-11 from the floor and five-of-six from the free-throw line. Nate Tait (South Euclid, Ohio/Brush/Alderson-Broaddus) picked up a season high four steals off the bench and also grabbed five rebounds.
The Storm look to snap its current five-game losing streak on Wednesday, Dec. 19, when they host GLIAC foe Northwood University (2-7, 1-4 GLIAC) in Painesville. Tipoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.