PAINESVILLE, Ohio—The Lake Erie College men's basketball team was even with Great Lakes Athletic Conference foe Tiffin University for most of the night, but a late surge propelled the Dragons to a 71-59 win Thursday (Feb. 21) at the Jerome T. Osborne Family Athletic & Wellness Center in Painesville.
After trading points early in the first-half, the Storm (7-17, 4-16 GLIAC) went on a 6-0 run to take a 13-8 advantage. Following a Tiffin timeout, Jamil Dudley (Massillon, Ohio/Massillon) connected on two straight three-pointers to keep the Storm in front. The Storm limited Joe Graessle, who averaged 24.3 ppg. coming into the game, early on, holding him to just one-of-four shooting to start the game. Down 21-14, Tiffin (10-16, 7-13 GLIAC) battled back, going on a 11-5 run to cut the lead to 26-25. Following a missed shot from the Storm, the Dragons took the lead at 29-28 but the Tom Parker (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius) put the Storm back in front 30-29. Mike Brown converted two free-throw attempts in the final seconds of the half to give the Dragons a 31-30 lead at the half.
Ten different Lake Erie players scored points in the first-half, led by Dudley's six. Garrick Sims (Barberton, Ohio/Barberton) added four points and grabbed five rebounds. The Storm shot 39.3% (11-of-28) in the first-half and owned a 17-13 advantage in the rebounding department.
After starting one-of-four, Graessle ended the half shooting 44.4% (four-of-nine) from the floor to lead the Dragons with 11 points. Overall, the Dragons shot 50% (13-of-26) from the floor in the first-half.
The Storm regained the lead five minutes into the second-half following a fast-break dunk by Rich Austin (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius). The dunk sparked a 5-0 run in a span of 20 seconds to put Lake Erie ahead 39-35. Once again, the Dragons battled back, tying the game at 43 before taking a 45-43 lead. The game remained close the rest of the way but the Dragons started to pull ahead on the heels of a 10-0 run to close out the game.
Dudley led the Storm with 13 points off the bench on four-of-eight (50%) shooting from the floor including three-of-six (50%) on three point attempts. Austin ended the game with 11 points and five rebounds. Sims grabbed a game-high nine rebounds, as the Storm outrebounded the Dragons 36-34. The Storm shot 40% (22-of-55) from the floor for the game but were hampered by 19 turnovers.
Graessle's game-high 28 points, on nine-of-20 (45%), led a trio of Dragons who scored in double-figures. He was joined by Jonathan Sutherlin and Mike Boan with 12 points apiece. Overall, the Dragons shot 43.9% (25-of-57) from the floor. Eric Roby led Tiffin with seven rebounds.
The Storm is back in action at home on Saturday (Feb. 23) when they battle GLIAC South Division foe Ohio Dominican University.