PAINESVILLE, OHIO –Sophomore center Rich Austin (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius) scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds but it was not enough as Lake Erie College (7-9, 2-7 GLIAC) dropped its fourth straight GLIAC contest at the hands of Saginaw Valley State University (9-8, 5-5 GLIAC), 68-51, at the Jerome T. Osborne Family Athletic & Wellness Center.
Austin was the only member of the Storm in double figures as three others scored six points each. Guard play carried the Cardinals as all three starting guards scored at least 15 points with Greg Foster and Brett Beland leading SVSU with 16 points each.
The teams traded baskets in the opening minutes as a Tait jumper made the score 4-4 at 17:31. It was the last time the Storm would score for 6:45 and over that span the Cardinals broke the game wide open with a 15-0 run to go ahead 19-4. With the score 21-6, Lake Erie climbed back into the game with nine straight points as a Tait jumper cut the deficit to 21-15 at 6:43. The Cardinals answered right back scoring eight straight points of their own but Lake Erie held SVSU scoreless for the final 3:08 of the half and the Storm scored the half's final four points to go to the break down 29-19.
Lake Erie kept that momentum going as it held the Cardinals without a point for the first 3:25 of the second half as well, cutting the SVSU lead to two at 29-27 after a layup by sophomore Riley Thomas (Cardington, Ohio/Cardington-Lincoln) at 17:35. They could not get back on top however, as Saginaw Valley State pushed its lead back to double digits at 42-32 with 12:48 to play and kept going as part of a 12-0 run which made the advantage 16 points at 48-32 after a pair of Foster free throws at 11:13. Foster was forced to the bench moments later with his fourth foul and it helped Lake Erie cut the gap to 10 at 55-45 with 5:31 to play after a pair of free throw from senior forward Matt Grendel (Independence, Ohio/Independence). It was as close as the Storm would get as SVSU pushed its lead out to a game-high 18 points at 64-46 with 3:18 to play en route to its fourth victory in five games.
The Storm struggled from the field shooting just 31.7% (19-of-60) for the game including two-of-16 on threes. Saginaw Valley State shot 46.0 percent (23-of-50).
Lake Erie hits the road for three straight contests starting Thursday as it travels to take on GLIAC South power the University of Findlay at 8:00 p.m.