(PAINESVILLE, Ohio) – The temperature may have been freezing outside, but there was nothing but heat inside the Osborne Center as Lake Erie defeated Ohio Dominican 96-78 on Thursday evening. The Storm (11-7, 5-3) blistered the nets at a 60% success rate and snapped a five-game losing streak against the Panthers (7-10, 4-4).
The field goal percentage set a new season-best set earlier this year at Edinboro when the Storm drained 58.3% of their shots. That mark was almost broke in the last game when Lake Erie made 58.2% against Malone.
It didn't take long for the nets to start whipping as the Storm raced out to a double-digit lead after the first seven minutes of play. Gabe Kynard (Sr., Toledo, Ohio / St. John's) led the charge as he scored two buckets during that time and assisted another three that accounted for eight more points. By the half he scored 15 of his game-high 28 points. Kynard once again had a complete game as he added six assists and four rebounds.
He wasn't the only one lighting up the scoreboard. Overall Lake Erie shot 62.2% and went 23-of-37 from the field.
The second half saw more of the same, but the Panthers didn't go away quietly. Changing the defense up to a press cut down the Storm's offensive opportunities, however Lake Erie still saw success from all over the court and made 13-of-23 overall, 7-of-13 behind the arc, and 9-of-12 at the free throw line.
ODU's offense also picked up and the visitors threatened to make an impressive comeback. The Panthers hit 63.3% of their shots in the second half and cut the deficit down to 13 on a couple of occasions, but the Storm's offense and timely defense came held off the visitors.
The first of those occasions took place with just under six minutes to go in the game. Lake Erie was quick to answer as Jacob Plantz (Fr., Genoa, Ohio / Genoa) and Jackson Burdyshaw (R-Jr., Perry, Ohio / Perry) bookended an 11-4 run with a pair of 3-pointers to push the lead back to 20. The second time a pair of Kaleb Vaughn (R-Sr., Toledo, Ohio / St. John's) triples helped push the lead back to 20 once again.
Vaughn finished with 16 for the Storm and was 4-of-7 from three. Kevin Peterson (So., Cleveland, Ohio / Padua) and Erron James (Sr., Westerville, Ohio / Westerville Central) added 14 and 12, respectively, to join Kynard and Vaughn in double figures.
In addition to shooting the ball well, the Storm was just as good at taking care of the ball with a season-low five turnovers. Lake Erie also controlled the boards by a 32-22 margin.
Sam Hickey led the Panthers with 20 points. Hasan Varence put in 17.
The Storm will look to make it three-straight over the home stand as they host Tiffin on Saturday. Tip-off with the Dragons is set for 1 p.m.