PAINESVILLE, Ohio - The Lake Erie men's basketball team never
trailed on its way to a 61-54 win over Edinboro on Saturday (Dec.
5) afternoon at the Jerome T. Osborne Family Athletic &
But just because the Storm never trailed, does not mean it was an easy victory.
Freshman center Garrick Sims (Barberton, Ohio/Barberton) polished off his first career double-double with a baseline jumper to give the Storm a six-point lead with 90 seconds to play. Sims finished with career-highs in points (17), rebounds (12) and blocks (three).
Sims' 12 boards led a Storm bunch that pounded the glass to a 51-37 advantage over the Scots (3-2).
Lake Erie won a first half in which both teams struggled shooting the basketball. The Storm hit on just 25 percent (8-for-32) of its first-shots, but still outlasted Edinboro, which shot 22 percent (7-for-32).
The Storm led by as many as 14 points, 21-7, with four minutes to play in the first half, but Edinboro trimmed the lead to six, 24-18, at the intermission.
"[The low-scoring] was beautiful for us to see our guys were doing what we wanted them to do defensively," said Storm head coach Cliff Hunt.
Several times in the second half, the Fighting Scots battled to within four points, but the game never got closer than that as Lake Erie was able to get stops on the defensive side, while wearing out the Edinboro defense at the opposite end.
Junior guard Ethan Bradshaw (Cincinnati, Ohio/Harmony Prep) was key in the second half, knocking down five free throws in the closing minutes and matching Sims' 17 points to pace the Storm on the afternoon.
With just over two minutes to play, the Fighting Scots cut the Storm lead down to four for the fifth time in the second half. After draining the shot clock, point guard Antonio Kidd (Cleveland, Ohio/Lakewood) found Sims on the left baseline where the 6-8 center drained a 17-footer.
"We're becoming a much better team with our chemistry and defense," Sims said. "Our talking and communication is getting much better."
On a day when both teams struggled from the field, hitting the boards became the key for both teams and Lake Erie came out with the stronger desire to rebound the basketball. The Storm gathered 17 offensive rebounds, including five for Sims. Lake Erie turned the offensive boards into 14 second-chance points.
"We loved Garrick when we saw him in high school," said Hunt. "He just has a natural ability to get rebounds and his upside his huge. He's a heck of a competitor."
Lake Erie finished shooting 33 percent (18-for-54) from the
floor, but held Edinboro to just 32 percent (21-for-66). The Storm
also got to the free-throw line a season-high 35 times.
The Storm avenged a 77-61 loss to the Fighting Scots exactly one week ago when the two teams met at the Gary Miller Classic in Erie, Pa.
This was the first of two games this weekend for Lake Erie, which gets only a 22-hour breather before taking the court Sunday (Dec. 6) afternoon at 3 p.m. for a game against the University of Indianapolis at the Jerome T. Osborne Family Athletic & Wellness Center.