PAINESVILLE, OHIO – Four players scored in double figures as the host Lake Erie College men's basketball team overcame a slow start and went on to an 83-65 season-opening victory over visiting Wilberforce University Sunday (Nov. 14) at the Jerome T. Osborne Family Athletic & Wellness Center in Painesville.
A 15-2 run late in the first half and an 18-6 spurt to start the second propelled the Storm (1-0) to its second straight opening game victory.
Senior Antonio Kidd (Cleveland, Ohio/Lakewood) led the way with 14 points and Lake Erie shot over 56 percent from the field in the win.
Though they never trailed in the game, Lake Erie led by just a single point at 23-22 with 6:48 to play in the first half. A jumper by junior Matt Grendel (Independence, Ohio/Independence) started a three-minute tear that saw the Storm go up 14, 38-24 on a three-pointer by senior guard Ethan Bradshaw (Cincinnati, Ohio/Harmony Prep).
Despite being outrebounded by six in the opening 20 minutes, Lake Erie led by 10 at halftime, 42-32, and started the second half with another offensive flurry. After trading baskets in the period's first few minutes, the Storm took control by hitting six consecutive baskets, including three-pointers from Grendel and freshman Riley Thomas (Cardington, Ohio/Cardington Lincoln), to take a 22-point lead at 60-38 with 13:05 to play.
Despite a bit of sloppy play by the Storm after that, Wilberforce (1-2) could only close within 12 points. The Bulldogs had a cut it to single digits, but a missed three led to a fast break lay-up by Bradshaw and following a turnover, an emphatic dunk by Sims off a lob from Bradshaw pushed the margin back to 16 at 75-59 with just under three minutes to go.
"It was a good win over an athletic team," said Head Coach Cliff Hunt. "We wanted to hold them in the 60's and we were able to do that. We had some nice individual performances by our guys. It was a good start to the season."
Bradshaw finished with 13 points while freshman Rich Austin (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius) had 12 and Thomas 10 in their college debuts. Sims scored nine points and grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds.
Nine different Storm players scored in the game.
The Storm finished 30-of-53 (56.6%) from the field, including eight-of-15 from three-point range and limited Wilberforce to just 37.9% shooting (25-of-66). Lake Erie also forced 11 turnovers.
Christopher Olafioye led Wilberforce with 21 points. Tim Giles added 16.
Lake Erie returns to the court on Friday night, Nov. 19, at home against the University of Northwestern Ohio. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.