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Lake Erie

Storm Battles Past Malone for 98-93 Win

(Photo by Baker Media Productions)
(Photo by Baker Media Productions)

PAINESVILLE, Ohio—The Lake Erie College men's basketball team battled past Malone University in the Storm's Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) South Division opener Thursday (Jan. 16), coming away with a 98-93 win at home. 

The contest was a back and forth battle, featuring 33 lead changes and 15 ties. 

Riley Thomas (Cardington, Ohio/Cardington-Lincoln) scored a career-high 33 points to lead the Storm (7-8, 4-5 GLIAC), hitting six-of-ten three-pointers and nine-of-ten free-throws.  

The teams traded points back and forth early on in a defensive battle, exchanging the lead six times in the opening 10 minutes.  The Pioneers (6-7, 4-5 GLIAC) found themselves ahead 20-16 midway through the half.  Nick Wells (Akron, Ohio/St. Vincent/St. Mary) and Steve Walczak (Columbus, Ohio/Olentangy) had five points each off the bench in the opening 10 minutes.   

The Storm scored the next four points, capped off by a thunderous dunk by Garrick Sims (Barberton, Ohio/Barberton) to tie the game at 20. The momentum continued through a Malone timeout as they scored four more- an 8-0 run overall, to move ahead 24-20.  

The Pioneers came back, scoring five straight to regain the lead but a quick Thomas three put the Storm back in the lead.  After Malone tied the game at 30, Colin Barth (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) scored his first points on his first shot of the season- a three-pointer- to put the Storm ahead but the Pioneers scored the next five to regain the lead, 35-33.  A pair of Thomas free-throws tied it up and a traditional three-pointer by Walczak switched the lead back to the Storm side once again.   

After the Pioneers moved ahead 41-40, Thomas drained a three-pointer to end the first-half and put the Storm in front, 43-41, at the break.


Overall, the first-half featured 17 lead changes and five ties.  Thomas ended the half with 14 points.  Walczak registered a career-high nine points off the bench while grabbing three boards.  The Storm shot 50% (17-of-34) from the floor in the first-half compared to the Pioneers 43.8% (14-of-32).  Lake Erie owned a slight edge in the rebounding department, 19-18.  24 of the Storm's first-half points were in the paint. 

Malone opened the second-half on a 5-0 run to regain the lead.  After an Andy Bosley (Columbus, Ohio/Orange) three, Sims had a huge block which was followed up by three-pointer by Thomas to put the Storm ahead by one. 

The back and forth play continued, with nine lead changes in the second-half's opening ten minutes.  Malone owned a 66-64 lead midway through.  Sims hit a lay-up-and-one to put the Storm in front by one but Christian Graves was fouled shooting a three on the ensuing possession and converted all three free-throws.  Thomas continued to be the answer for the Storm, draining his fifth three-pointer to follow-up the free-throws.   Sims extended the lead to three before a Grave's three tied once again.  

Nick Deitsch (Lewis Center, Ohio/Orange) recorded a block and followed it up with a fast break lay-up to break the tie.  Daniel Wise tied it on the other end of the floor but missed a free-throw which would have given Malone a one point lead.  Sean Howard (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) hit a free-throw for the Storm to put them back in the lead.   

After trading free-throws, Bosley and Thomas hit back-to-back threes to give the Storm an 87-80 lead, their largest of the evening at the time.  

The Storm held onto their lead, hitting eight free-throws in the final minute to seal the conference victory.

Sims ended the game with 13 points, a team-high eight rebounds and two blocks.  Walczak had a career-high ten points and tied his career-high with five rebounds.  Tom Parker (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius) had eight points to go alongside his six rebounds and four assists.  In addition to his career-high in points, Thomas registered four rebounds and two assists. 

Isiah Elliot led the Pioneers with 23 points while Graves ended with 18.  Cory Velghuizen netted twenty points and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.  Vince Kazmierczak (12) and Che Richardson (11) also scored in double-figures. 

The Storm outshot the Pioneers 50.9%-43.3% from the floor.  Lake Erie strived at the free-throw line, converting 29-of-36 attempts (80.6%).  After going four-of-12 (33.3%) from the three-point line in the first-half, the Storm hit seven-of-11 (63.6%) in the second-half.  Lake Erie won the battle of the boards, 39-36.

The Storm concludes their four-game home stand Saturday (Jan. 18), playing host to GLIAC foe Walsh University.