CLEVELAND – Lake Erie played a solid floor game and four LEC players finished with double digits in the scoring column, as the Storm fell to Cleveland State, 78-62, in exhibition action on Tuesday night.
Sophomore forward Roy Alexander nailed four 3-pointers as part of a 15-point night in leading a quartet of Lake Erie scorers with 10 or more points. LEC hit 11 treys as a team, diffusing – at least in part – a big advantage for the Vikings at the free-throw line. CSU got to the line 38 times in the contest at the Wolstein Center.
"We fouled them more than we wanted to," said LEC Head Coach Cliff Hunt, noting new NCAA regulations on contact. "But overall I am happy with a lot of things I saw out there tonight."
Early on CSU grabbed a 12-6 lead, but Lake Erie clawed its way back into the game with some gutsy defense and back-to-back buckets five minutes into the contest. The second of those baskets was a Roy Alexander trey at 14:40, and that three-ball cut the Vikings' lead to 12-11.
Outshooting the Storm and frequently getting to the charity stripe, Cleveland State gradually upped its lead to 10 and then 17 points by the late minutes in the opening half. But a Michael Morris three at 3:30 started what would be a half-ending, 11-2 run for the Storm.
Morris tallied seven points in that LEC spurt. When the buzzer sounded the end of the first frame, Lake Erie had worked its way back into a 40-32 game. Tom Parker went 3-of-4 from the field (2-of-2 on 3-pointers) and 2-for-2 from the free-throw line in scoring 10 first-half points. Bryn Forbes scored 14 in the first for CSU.
The Storm and Vikings were even in first-half turnovers; Cleveland State foul shooting was a major factor in the Vikings building their eight-point halftime lead. CSU got to the line 23 times, converting 19 of those attempts (82.6 percent).
The Vikings opened the second half with a 12-0 run, opening a 52-32 advantage by the 15-minute mark. Lake Erie got as close as 14 when Garrick Sims hit a jumper at 9:20, but CSU was able to maintain a lead of near-15 the rest of the way.
Roy Alexander (15 points), Michael Morris (13), Tom Parker (12) and Riley Thomas (10) were the Storm's top scorers. Alexander added four boards and two steals to his final line in the box score.
"The preseason is all about finding out what your team can do," said Hunt. "And tonight we found out how some guys can step up and contribute. I think that'll pay big dividends for us down the road."
Sophomore guard Bryn Forbes scored a game-high 21 points to lead the host Vikings. Jon Harris and Marlin Mason each grabbed nine rebounds on a night that saw the Vikings out-rebound the Storm, 39-29.
The Storm will get its season underway in earnest on Friday at 3:30 p.m. when LEC takes on Davis & Elkins (W. Va.) in day one of two at the All-American Club Classic hosted by Kentucky Wesleyan College. The Green & White will face the host Panthers – a preseason top-10 in multiple NCAA-II polls – on Saturday (7:30 tip-off).