OWENSBORO, Ky.--The Lake Erie College men's basketball team defeated the 12th-ranked Kentucky Wesleyan College Panthers in a thrilling 89-88 shootout at the All-America Club Classic Saturday (Nov. 9).
Freshmen Sean Howard (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) led the Storm scorers with 24 points and senior Riley Thomas (Cardington, Ohio/Cardington-Lincoln) added 21 to combat Kentucky Weslyan's Lonnie Hayes' 57 points.
The Storm gained an early advantage to start the game, leading by as much as 23-15 but the Panthers went on a 10-0 run to jump ahead 25-23. The lead would be short lived as Howard heated up, slowly putting the narrowly Storm ahead at the half, 48-46.
Howard had 17 points in the first half, including three-of-five from beyond the three-point line. Garrick Sims (Barberton, Ohio/Baberton) and Thomas had seven points apiece. The Storm shot 56.3% from the field in the first half and held a 17-13 advantage on the boards but comitted 20 fouls.
The Storm got out of the gates fast in the second half, quickly increasing their lead to 65-54 less than five minutes in. The momentum continued for the Storm as they kept a steady lead throughout most of the second half, leading by as much as 13 with 3:37 to play.
Following Nate Tait's (South Euclid, Ohio/Brush/Alderson-Broaddus) free throw with a little over three and a half minutes to play, the Storm were shutout the rest of the game as the Panthers mounted a furious comeback. After a Ken Bosley three pointer brought the game to within 10 points, Hayes scored nine straight points to bring the game to within one.
With 37 seconds left to play, Hayes stole the ball and attempted a jump shot but missed and was picked up by Sims to seal the win.
Howard shot nine-of-13 from the field for the game, including four-of -seven from three point range. Thomas also shot nine-of-13 from the field and was two-of-four on threes with four assists. Simsnetted seven and had a team-high six rebounds. Michael Morris (New Palestine, Ind./New Palestine) had 12 points, going four-of-six on three-point attempts. Tom Parker (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius) had a game-high eight assists to go with his seven points.
Overall, the Storm outshot the Panthers (57.4%-48.9%) from the floor and as team, shot 48% on three-point attempts. The Storm also owned a slight rebounding edge, 29-26, but committed 19 turnovers to the Panthers' 14.
The Storm open the home portion of their schedule Thursday (Nov. 14) against Ohio Mid-Western College.