PAINESVILLE, OHIO – The Lake Erie College men's basketball team cut a 16-point second-half deficit to just one before a pair of back-to-back three-pointers by visiting Ashland University kicked off a 10-0 run to close the game and give the Eagles a 64-53 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference South Division in the regular season finale Saturday afternoon (March 2) at the Jerome T. Osborne Family Athletic and Wellness Center.
Though the Storm (8-18, 5-17 GLIAC) only led once, at 2-0 in the opening seconds, the contest was closely played through the first 20 minutes. The Eagles led by as many as seven three times but Lake Erie kept it close by taking care of the basketball. The Storm committed just two turnovers in the opening half and, aided by eight points from junior guard Tom Parker (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius), trailed by five at halftime, 31-26.
Ashland (13-12, 11-11 GLIAC) opened the second half on a 15-4 run in the first five minutes to push the lead to 46-30. The Storm responded with an 8-0 run, including the final six points by junior guard Riley Thomas (Cardington, Ohio/Cardington Lincoln).
The lead was 10 at 51-41 on a three-pointer by Ashland's Cole Krizancic with 10:43 to play. Lake Erie got it within five at the eight-minute mark on a tip-in by redshirt junior center Garrick Sims (Barberton, Ohio/Barberton) but Krizancic answered again with another three to push the lead back to eight at 54-46.
Lake Erie had one more rally. Two lay-ups by Parker and a lay-up and free throw by Thomas made it 54-53 with 3:43 to play. But Krizancic connected for his fourth three-pointer of the game and Will Evans hit a three from the corner after the Storm failed to convert on its next possession to make it a seven-point game with two minutes left. DaWuan Thomas hit four free throws in the final 1:06 to provide the final margin.
Evans' double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds led the Eagles. Evan Yates scored 16, including 12 in the first half, and Krizancic and Thomas each finished with 14 points. Only one other Ashland player scored in the game, with those four combining for 61 of the team's 64 points. The Eagles posted identical 12-of-26 shooting lines in each half to finish 24-of-52 (46.3%) for the game, including nine three-pointers.
Thomas led the Storm with 16 points while Parker finished with 12. Lake Erie connected on 40% (22-of-55) for the game and committed just six turnovers. However, the Storm hit just three shots from distance and were just six-of-13 at the foul line.