(OWENSBORO, Ky.) - The first day of the longest road trip of the season was a good one for Lake Erie as it pulled away late for a 72-63 victory over Kentucky Wesleyan. The Storm (12-7, 7-4) have now won six of their last seven and defeated the Panthers (7-11, 5-7) for the first time since the 2014-15 season.
It was anything but easy as both teams kept the game close the entire game as neither team held more than a three-possession lead. In addition to that, Kentucky Wesleyan had a rare night in which it shot better behind the 3-point line than it did in front of it. The Panthers made 14-of-28 and were well ahead of the 50-percent mark for most of the game.
However Lake Erie lurked just close enough and within striking distance until making its move midway through the second half. After the Panthers' Erik Bell made it 54-48 in favor of the hosts during a stretch where their last seven field goals were triples, Head Coach Kyle Conley called a time to settle down his team.
Whatever he said worked. The Storm charged up and eventually regained the lead at 61-60 on a pair of Erron James free throws. After a Wesleyan turnover, that lead extended and remained in favor of the Green and White the rest of the game. Over the final 10 minutes, Lake Erie was able to outscore the Panthers 24-9.
Brogan Scott scored seven of his team-best 15 points during that stretch. He finished the night 4-of-7 overall with a pair of 3-pointers and six rebounds. Jordan Humphrey and Lamont Rhodes followed with 13 each. Both shot 50 percent or better with Rhodes one rebound shy of another double-double.
Rhodes was also a catalyst down the stretch as nine of his points and six of his rebounds were recorded in the final 10 minutes. Erron James added 10 points to round out the quartet in double figures.
Mohamed Abu Arisha poured in 22 points to lead the Panthers on 9-of-17 from the field. He added 10 rebounds for the double-double.
Turnovers weren't outrageous for either team, but Lake Erie made the most of its extra opportunities – 15 compared to nine for the Panthers – with 22 points. Wesleyan was only able to counter with seven. The Storm dominated inside as well with a 34-16 advantage.
Lake Erie will continue south to Trevecca Nazarene on Saturday. Tip-off with the Trojans is set for 5:15 p.m. in the Music City.