Lake Erie College (5-16, 1-13 GLIAC) pushed yet another GLIAC foe well into the second half but was done in by GLIAC North leader Ferris State University (17-5, 13-2 GLIAC), 77-64, at the Jerome T. Osborne Family Athletic and Wellness Center in Painesville, Ohio.
The Storm was led by senior guard Ethan Bradshaw (Cincinnati, Ohio/Harmony Prep) with 17 points, moving him into eight place on Lake Erie's all-time career points list with 1,140. Freshman guard Riley Thomas (Cardington, Ohio/Cardington-Lincoln) chipped in with 16 points while sophomore center Garrick Sims (Barberton, Ohio/Barberton) pulled down a team-high nine rebounds.
Ferris State got a monster game from senior forward Justin Keenan, a preseason All-American, with 30 points and 17 rebounds. Keenan did his most impressive work at the foul line, going 18-of-25. The GLIAC leader in scoring and rebounding also added three steals and a pair of assists.
There were two ties and three lead changes early in the first half until the Bulldogs moved out to an 18-12 lead at the 13:19 mark on a Darien Gay three-pointer. The Storm would move back to within three on three occasions in the half but an 8-0 FSU run pushed the lead out to 33-22 after a pair of Keenan free throws at 4:43. Lake Erie was effective on the offensive end in the final five minutes to get that lead down to 38-30 going into halftime.
The Storm used that momentum to sprint out of the half with the period's first eight points to knot the game at 38-38 with 17:08 to play, with junior forward Matt Grendel (Independence, Ohio/Independence) scoring the final five points of that run. However, the Green and While would never lead in the half as after the teams exchanged baskets, Ferris State rattled off a game-changing 12-0 run to take a 52-40 advantage at 9:38. A running jumper from sophomore guard Alex Davis (Macedonia, Ohio/Nordonia) was the Storm's only points over a nearly eight minutes during that stretch. Lake Erie got the deficit to within single-digits at 53-45 on a Thomas jumper with 7:58 to go but could not get any closer. The Storm trailed by that eight-point margin twice more, the final of which came after a pair of Bradshaw free throws at the 1:07 mark. The Bulldogs missed just one free throw in the final minute, including a perfect six-of-six for Keenan, to ice the victory.
Ferris State held a slight advantage in shooting, going 23-of-56 (41.1%) while Lake Erie was 22-of-54 (40.7%). The Bulldogs also held a 39-36 rebounding edge.
The Storm is in action next on Saturday (Feb. 12) as they host the annual Taking Breast Cancer by Storm game against Grand Valley State University, with tipoff scheduled for 1:00 p.m.