PAINESVILLE, Ohio – The Lake Erie College men's basketball team defeated the Mercyhurst University Lakers 79-62 on Wednesday (Nov. 22) afternoon at the Osborne Center.
"That was a really good Mercyhurst team that we went up against, one of the best teams in the region," said Storm head coach Kyle Conley. "It was huge for our guys to come back from a late night and a tough loss at Bowling Green on Monday. They showed that they are taking steps to get where we want them to be."
The teams opened the game by trading baskets at each end of the floor. After Jordan Humphrey (Columbus, Ohio / Westerville South) tied the game at four with a layup, Mercyhurst went on a 7-2 run to take an 11-6 lead with 15:49 to go in the half. Ryan Middendorf (West Chester, Ohio / Lakota East) and Gabe Kynard (Toledo, Ohio / St. John's) each had a three pointer as Lake Erie opened an 8-0 run over the two minutes. The Lakers trimmed the three point lead to one before Kynard converted a three point play with a layup and a free throw. Mercyhurst rallied to tie the game at 17 before the teams tied three more times in the next six minutes. With a 27-27 tie, Lake Erie responded with a 10-3 run, including five points from Middendorf and a three from Erron James (Westerville, Ohio / Westerville Central). Lake Erie held a 37-30 lead with 3:17 left in the half. The Lakers scored the final basket of the half as the Storm led 37-33 at the break.
The Storm shot 52% from the floor and 56% from long range in the first half.
Each team traded baskets over the first three minutes of the second half. The Lakers cut the lead to two but Lake Erie extended it to as much as seven. A Laker layup with 16:23 left pulled Mercyhurst within five at 44-39. Lake Erie bounced back with a 12-2 run over the next three minutes, opening a 15 point lead. Michael Morris (New Palestine, Ind. / New Palestine) and Middendorf each hit a three pointer and Kynard had four points on the run. Over the next five minutes, Mercyhurst slowly cut into the lead as they pulled within ten. Lake Erie used three free throws to extend the lead to 61-48 with 6:46 remaining. Mercyhurst used back-to-back layups, coming within double digits with six minutes left. Three pointers by Middendorf and Kynard sealed the contest as Lake Erie had a 7-0 run with 3:46 left and a 68-52 lead. The Lakers got the lead to 12 but one final Storm run kept the game out of reach. Lake Erie outscored the Lakers 9-4 over the final 2:17 for the win.
"Our guys had some really good possessions throughout the game; good ball movement and we finished plays. The key for the game was the defense on the ball for us. [Harrison] Riggs and Erron [James] set the tone to force Mercyhurst to have the possessions they did."
Lake Erie was led by Kynard, who turned in a season-high 20 points and seven rebounds. Brogan Scott (Wadsworth, Ohio / Wadsworth) added 13 points and seven rebounds, both season-highs. Middendorf knocked down four three pointers on the way to 16 points scored. James had six points and five assists.
Overall, the Storm shot 55% for the game and 58% from deep. The Storm held the Lakers to 38% shooting from the floor and 11% from the three point line.
The Storm will return to the court on Saturday (Nov. 25) with a matchup at Edinboro, starting at 3:00 PM.