PAINESVILLE, OHIO – Redshirt freshman Jamil Dudley (Massillon, Ohio/Massillon) electrified the home crowd with another career performance off the bench and the Lake Erie College men's basketball team pulled away late from Northern Michigan University for a 74-62 win Thursday night (Feb. 16) at the Jerome T. Osborne Family Athletic & Wellness Center.
Dudley led four players in double figures with a career-high-tying 24 points, hitting a season-best four three-pointers. Sophomore Rich Austin (Cleveland, Ohio/Austin) scored 13 points while classmates Riley Thomas (Cardington, Ohio/Cardington Lincoln) and Tom Parker (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius) each added 10 for the Storm (9-14, 4-12 GLIAC), who won for just the second time in 10 games.
Despite a few Lake Erie runs in the first half, the game was close throughout the first 36 minutes. After the Wildcats (8-15, 4-12 GLIAC) scored the game's first basket on a dunk by Kendall Jackson, the Storm responded with a 10-0 spurt to take an eight-point lead. The lead grew to nine at 13-4 before Northern Michigan began chipping away. The Wildcats eventually battled back to retake the lead at 22-21 with 7:16 to play and held that same one-point margin at halftime, 32-21, despite 14 points from Dudley in the opening 20 minutes.
Jackson hit two free throws to start the scoring in the second half and the Wildcats kept that three-point lead until there was 13:35 to go. That's when Austin scored on a lay-up and sophomore Nate Tate (South Euclid, Ohio/Brush/Alderson-Broaddus) followed with a lay-up of his own to put the Storm on top with under 13 to play.
It would prove to be a lead the Storm would never relinquish. Up by three with 5:30 to go, Thomas buried a three-pointer and Dudley hit a jumper to push the lead to eight. A pair of free throws by Austin made it a 66-56 game with 2:51 to play and the Storm closed it out by hitting its final eight free throw attempts.
Lake Erie finished 12-of-14 from the line in the game and shot 50% (27-of-54) from the field, hitting eight three-pointers. Park and Thomas each had four assists and Parker led the defensive effort with three steals as the Storm forced 19 turnovers.
Northern Michigan hit on 49 percent (25-of-51) but was just three-of-12 from distance (25%). The Wildcats were led by Haki Stampley's 16 points off the bench. DeAndre Taylor scored 13 points and grabbed a game-high seven rebounds while Jared Benson added 11 points. Northern Michigan got just 33 points from its starting five.
Lake Erie will look for its second straight win on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 18, when it hosts Michigan Tech University to wrap-up "Taking Breast Cancer by Storm"/GLIAC Pink Wave weekend.