PAINESVILLE, Ohio-- The Lake Erie College men's basketball continued to roll in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play as they won their third straight and snapped Walsh University's six-game winning streak, defeating the Cavaliers 85-74 on Saturday (Jan. 18) in Painesville.
Riley Thomas (Cardington, Ohio/Cardington-Lincoln) led the Storm (8-8, 5-5 GLIAC) with 25 points- his third straight game of scoring 20 or more and the 11th time overall this season. Thomas hit seven-of-13 shots from the floor and converted nine-of-ten free-throws.
This was the first road loss for Walsh (11-3, 7-3 GLIAC) this season.
Lake Erie started the game on an 8-3 run, hitting their first five shots. Garrick Sims (Barberton, Ohio/Barberton) scored four points on the opening run. The Storm continued to shoot well as they maintained their lead early on. Thomas scored 10 points in the opening 10 minutes as the Storm shot 68.8% (11-of-16) from the floor, including three-off-four three-pointers.
Leading 25-20 with 9:43 to play, the Storm went on a 8-2 run off a lay-up by Andy Bosley (Coumbus, Ohio/Orange) and threes from Michael Morris (New Palestine, Ind./New Palestine) and Thomas to take their biggest lead of the half at 11 points.
The Cavaliers cut the Storm's lead to four with less than a minute to play in the half but Tom Parker hit a lay-up with 11 seconds left to give the Storm a six point advantage heading into the break.
Thomas led the Storm with 13 first-half points while Parker had six. Roy Alexander (Columbus, Ohio/Walnut Ridge), Sims and Bosley had four apiece. In addition to his four points, Sims grabbed five rebounds. The Storm shot 48.5% (16-of-33) in the opening half compared to the Cavaliers 38.2% (13-of-34). Walsh hit just three-of-16 threes but owned a slight 20-19 lead in rebounding.
Walsh cut the Storm lead down to one, 40-39, early in the second-half but Parker scored four straight to put the Storm back up by five. The Cavaliers eventually tied the game on a four-point play but Alexander hit a jumper and Morris and Sean Howard (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) hit back-to-back three points as the Storm went on a 8-0 run to regain an eight point lead.
The Storm continued to roll in the second-half, amassing a 12 point lead with six minutes to play. After Walsh hit a three, Nick Wells (Akron, Ohio/St. Vincent-St. Mary) answered with one of his own followed up by a pair free-throws from Thomas to give the Storm a 71-57 lead with five minutes to play.
Lake Erie led by as much as 16 in the final five minutes as they shot well down the stretch. Sims and Bosley capped off the game with a pair of dunks in the final minute to seal the victory for the Storm.
In addition to his game-high 25 points, Thomas had four steals, two rebounds, one block and one assist. Sims ended the game with 14 points on six-of-ten shooting and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds. Parker scored 12 points to compliment his four assists and two rebounds. Howard and Alexander netted nine and eight points off the bench respectively. Bosley had six points and six assists with a block.
The Storm never surrendered their lead.
Jesse Hardin led the Cavaliers with 24 points and seven rebounds. Trey Fletcher had 16 points and six rebounds while Brad DuPont (12) and Hrvoje Vucic (11) also scored in double-figures.
Lake Erie shot an impressive 54.2% (32-of-59) while holding the Cavaliers who ranked first in field goal percentage in the GLIAC to 42.9% (27-of-63). The Storm hit 10-of-23 three-pointers (43.5%) and converted 11-of-13 free-throws.
The Storm returns to the road after a four-game homestand to face Hillsdale College on Thursday (Jan. 23).