Big Halftime Lead Washed Away as Storm Fall at Michigan Tech

Ethan Bradshaw (photo by Ryan Baker/Baker Media Productions)
Ethan Bradshaw (photo by Ryan Baker/Baker Media Productions)

Senior guard Ethan Bradshaw (Cincinnati, Ohio/Harmony Prep) led Lake Erie College (6-18, 2-15 GLIAC) with a game-high 18 points but was unable to find the basket when the Storm needed it the most in at 71-68 loss at Michigan Tech University (14-10, 9-8 GLIAC) in Houghton, Mich.

In what has become a familiar theme this season, Lake Erie led by 15 points at halftime and by seven with 5:00 to play but missed on its last seven field goal attempts over the final 94 seconds. 

Bradshaw jumped two spots into fourth place on the Storm's all-time scoring list with 1,194 career points.  In addition, freshman guard Riley Thomas (Cardington, Ohio/Cardington-Lincoln) added 12 points and sophomore guard Alex Davis (Macedonia, Ohio/Nordonia) scored 10 on five-of-six shooting.  Michigan Tech had four reach double figures led by Ali Haidar with 17 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

Lake Erie trailed just briefly at 3-2 in the early going but a Davis layup at 16:00 put the Green and White on top, 11-5.  With Lake Erie holding a narrow 18-17 advantage at the 12 minute mark, Bradshaw took off, scoring 11 points in a seven minute stretch.  That stretch was closed by an 8-0 Storm run to take a 34-22 advantage at 5:13.  Lake Erie held the Huskies scoreless for 4:40 during that spurt and led by double-digits for the rest of the half.  The lead was extended to a game-high 16 points (41-25) after a Davis layup with 3:26 to play in the half, and a pair of free throws by sophomore center Jordan Baker (Erie, Pa./McDowell) sent Lake Erie to the break in front, 45-30.

The first 11 minutes of the second half were all Michigan Tech as it scored the first eight points coming out of the break.  Moments later a 12-2 Huskies run wiped away the rest of the Lake Erie advantage as a Jordan Reetz three-pointer tied the score at 55-55 with 9:07 to play.  Lake Erie regained the lead just 14 seconds later and built its lead back up to 64-57 at 5:11 after a pair of free throws from junior guard Brandon Smith (Bedford, Ohio/Bedford/Cuyahoga Community College).

The Storm offense let the cagers down during the stretch run as Thomas scored the Green and White's only four points over the final five minutes.  A pair of free throws by Haidar tied the game at 68-68 with 1:24 to play and 16 seconds later Austin Armga split a pair at the charity stripe to give the Huskies a one-point advantage. 

On the game's most critical possession, Lake Erie had four chances but came up empty-handed.  Smith and Thomas each missed three-pointers and a Bradshaw jumper was off the mark but three offensive rebounds gave Smith the chance to step to the line as 37 seconds remained.  Smith missed the front end of the one-and-one and two Don Fowler free throws gave Michigan Tech a 71-68 advantage with 20 seconds to go. The Storm had two attempts to send the game to overtime in the final 10 seconds but Thomas and Bradshaw both could not connect on three-point attempts. 

It was a tale of two halves shooting the ball for Lake Erie as it went 17-of-30 (56.7%) over the games first 20 minutes but just eight-of-25 (32.0%) in the final 20.

The Storm returns to Painesville on Thursday night for the final home game of the season against Tiffin University.  Tipoff is schedule for 6:00 p.m. as the game will be both senior night and blackout night, sponsored by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.