(WINTER PARK, Florida) – Gabe Kynard's (Sr., Toledo, Ohio) 3-pointer at the buzzer lifted Lake Erie to a thrilling 85-82 victory over Rollins in the first game of its Florida road Friday evening. The triple was Kynard's fourth of the night as he led the Storm (2-2) with 24 points against the Tars (2-2).
It was a fitting end to the night that saw the Storm's shooting percentage rise along with the Florida climate. The Green and White blistered the nets at a 54.1% success rate as they hit 33-of-51 from the field, the best mark so far this season.
"Tonight was a big step in the right direction for our team," said Head Coach Kyle Conley. "Traveling down to Florida and beating a talented Rollins team on their home court is something I'm very happy about. We've struggled to make shots to start the season, but tonight we had multiple guys step up and get big buckets for us."
Did they ever.
Kynard alone was 10-of-16 from the field and even better behind the arc where he was 4-of-5. Kevin Peterson (So., Cleveland, Ohio) came off the bench to provide some extra range as well with 16 points on 6-of-11 overall and 4-of-8 from three.
The long ball was key for Lake Erie as overall it made 14-of-30. Jacob Plantz added three en route to a 12-point night, and Harrison Riggs (Jr., Toledo, Ohio) dropped two more to help him reach 10 points.
Both of Riggs came at pivotal moments. The first answered one by the Tars who took a 13-4 lead with the make less than five minutes into the game. The second put Lake Erie back up by two possessions at 82-78 with 48 seconds left.
Rollins was able to tie the game with a pair of free throws and a layup by Jakobi Bonner who led with a game-high 28 points. He was 10-of-19 and 3-of-4 from three.
Rebounding was nearly even with the hosts holding a 32-31 edge on the glass. Kynard pulled down eight of them to lead both teams.
The Storm offense was well distributed as they racked up 22 assists, the most since 23 in a 93-64 win over Ohio Valley on February 9 last season. Erron James (Sr., Westerville, Ohio) nearly reached double-digits himself in the category as he dished out nine helpers.
The Storm will remain in the warm weather and head even further south to take on Barry on Sunday. Tip-off from Miami Shores is set for 2 p.m.