MIDLAND, Mich.-- For the first time since joining the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) in 2010, the Lake Erie College men's basketball topped the century mark in a conference contest win, defeating Northwood University, 102-79, Saturday (Jan. 4) to conclude their trip to the Upper Peninsula.
The 23-point differential is the highest margin of victory for the Storm against a GLIAC opponent.
Senior guard Riley Thomas (Cardington, Ohio/Cardington-Lincoln) led the way for the Storm with a career-high 32 points, the most for any Storm player since the transition to Division II, hitting seven-of-13 three-pointers (53.8%) and converting all five free-throw attempts.
The Storm got out of the gates quickly, opening the game on a 14-4 run but the Timberwolves regained their footing and took the lead at 22-19. The Storm bounced back, tying the game at 32 and outscored Northwood 14-6 in the final minutes of the first-half to take a 46-38 lead.
Lake Erie continued to roll in the second-half, increasing their lead to 12 just two-minutes in but the Timberwolves, once again, started to mount a comeback of their own, cutting the Storm lead down to five just a minute later. That was the closest that Northwood came to regaining the lead as the Storm shooters took over, hitting 55.9% (19-of-34) from the floor in the second-half, including 10-of-18 (55.6%), to close out the game and pick up the win.
Senior Tom Parker (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius) set a Division II school record with 13 assists in addition to his seven points, two steals and five rebounds. Freshman Forward Michael Morris (New Palestine, Ind./New Palestine) was second on the team with 20 points, one shy of his career-high, hitting six-of-seven (85.7%) of his three-point attempts. Senior center Garrick Sims (Barberton, Ohio/Barberton) picked up 12 points and joined Morris with six rebounds. Sophomore forward Roy Alexander (Columbus, Ohio/Walnut Ridge) had a big day off the bench with a career-high 16 points and tied his career-high with seven rebounds.
Wes Wilcox led the Timbewolves with 28 points and a game-high rebounds.
The Storm and Timberwolves both shot 50% from the floor, 35-of-70 and 30-of-60 respectively. The difference came in three-point shooting, where Lake Erie hit 56.2% (18-of-32) to Northwood's 30.8% (eight-of-26). The Storm also forced 16 turnovers while committing just six and owned a 9-1 advantage in steals. Lake Erie made the most of the turnover differential, picking up 32 points off of Northwood turnovers. The Timberwolves won the battle of the boards, 40-36.
The Storm return home Thursday (Jan. 9) to host Michigan Tech University.