PAINESVILLE, OHIO – Lake Erie College (3-3, 0-2 GLIAC) was able to cut a 14-point deficit to a single point but could not get over the hump as it fell to Hillsdale College (6-1, 2-0 GLIAC), 62-56, at the Jerome T. Osborne Family Athletic & Wellness Center, Painesville, Ohio.
The Storm was led by sophomore Riley Thomas (Cardington, Ohio/Cardington-Lincoln) with 12 points. Following close behind was sophomore center Rich Austin (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius), who reached double-digits for the fifth time in six games with 11 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds. It was a balanced effort for the Lake Erie as seven players scored at least five points. Hillsdale was led by center Nick Washburn with 17 points in just 18 minutes.
Lake Erie led for the game's first five minutes as a difficult jumper by Thomas put the Storm ahead by their largest margin of the day, 11-5. Hillsdale scored the next eight points and 15 of the next 16 to take a 21-12 advantage. The Storm proceeded on a 10-2 run as a layup by junior Jordan Baker (Erie, Pa./McDowell) brought Lake Erie to within one at 23-22. It was as close as the Storm would get as another 9-0 run helped but the Chargers head at the half with a 38-26 lead. Washburn scored 15 points in the first half while Lake Erie was led by Thomas with eight.
Hillsdale extended its lead to 14 points two times early in the second half but Washburn picked up his fourth foul at the 15:04 mark and Lake Erie was able to capitalize with the Hillsdale's top post player on the sidelines. The Storm cut the deficit to seven at 47-40 after a three-pointer by sophomore guard Tom Parker (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius) with 10:18 to play. Washburn returned but it was short-lived as he quickly fouled out as Hillsdale led 49-42.
Lake Erie immediately scored the next six points as an Austin three-pointer cut the margin to one at 49-48 at the 6:10 mark. Hillsdale's Brandon Pritzl stopped the Storm run with a three but senior Brandon Smith (Bedford, Ohio/Bedford/Cuyahoga Community College) answered back on the next possession with a pair of free throws. Lake Erie's offense went cold as it came up empty on five straight possessions as the Chargers went ahead 58-50. A free throw by freshman Jamil Dudley (Massillon, Ohio/Massillon) and layup by Thomas and Austin brought it back to a one possession game with 59 seconds to play, but on the game's biggest possession, strong ball Hillsdale ball movement led to an open Brad Guinane layup with 26 seconds left. Lake Erie's final hopes were dashed on the other end as a Dudley layup attempt fell short.
Lake Erie shot 38.6% from the field (17-of-44) while Hillsdale hit at a 44.2% (19-of-43) clip.
The Storm will take the week off for finals before returning to action next Sunday for their first GLIAC road test at Ashland University.