December 7, 2013

Late Free Throws Stifle Storm's Comeback

ALLENDALE, Mich.-- The Lake Erie College men's basketball team recovered from a five point deficit in the final minute of play off the back of a pair of Michael Morris (New Palestine, Ind./New Palestine) three-pointers to the game with 13 seconds to play, but Grand Valley State University hit four free-throws in the final seconds to pick up a 84-80 victory in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) action Saturday (Dec. 7).

After exchanging points early on, the Lakers went on a 9-0 run to take a 14-5 lead. The Storm slowly chipped away at the lead, coming within one point, 18-17, midway through the half. The Lakers slowly worked their lead back up until the Storm eventually gained their first lead of the game, 29-30, after a Nate Tait (South Euclid, Ohio/Brush/Alderson-Braoddus) layup. The teams exchanged the lead twice more before the Lakers took a 39-37 lead into the half. 

Morris led the Storm with nine points in the first half. Sean Howard (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) netted six points in his first start. Nick Wells (Akron, Ohio/St. Vincent-St. Mary) and Tait had six points apiece off the bench. The Storm shot 54.2% (13-of-24) from the floor in the half but Grand Valley managed to shoot 62.5% (15-of-24). Lake Erie managed only four rebounds in the half compared to the Lakers 11. 

A Tom Parker (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius) three-pointer gave the Storm a 40-39 lead at the beginning of the second half but the Lakers rebounded with a 12-3 run to go ahead 51-42. Parker and Howard hit back-to-back three-pointers to cut the Grand Valley lead back to two.

The Lakers put together a 7-0 run to bring the score to 58-49. The Storm chipped away at the lead, bringing Grand Valley's lead down to four but the Lakers once again rebounded pulled back ahead. 

Trailing by five in the final minute, Morris hit a pair of three-pointers, with a Grand Valley free throw in between, to tie the game at 80 with 13 seconds left to play. But it was not in the cards for the Storm, as the Laker's Darren Kapustka hit four free-throws in the final seconds to seal the win and stifle the Storm comeback.

Morris ended the game with a season-high 21 points on seven-of-ten shooting from the floor, all of which were three-point attempts. Howard ended the game with 14 points. Parker had a team-high six rebounds and assists to go with his eight points. 

The Storm ended the game shooting 53.7% (29-of-54) from the floor, including 60.7% (17-of-28) from the three-point line. 

Ryan Sabin led the Lakers with 22 points while Kapustka and Rob Woodson added 14 and 13 points respectively. Grand Valley shot 61.7% (29-of-47) for the game. 

Grand Valley won the battle of the boards, 29-23. The teams were even in the turnover category with 14. 

The Storm return home to face Wayne State University next Saturday (Dec. 14). 

-LEC-