ERIE, Pa. - The Lake Erie men's basketball team beat Gannon
University for the second time at the Hammermill Center this
season, 66-61, on Monday (Feb. 15) night. The win extends the
Storm's winning streak to four as Lake Erie became the first team
since 1985-86 to win twice at the Hammermill Center in the same
Sophomore forward Matt Grendel (Independence, Ohio/Independence) paced the Storm (10-15) with a career-high 19 points to go along with eight rebounds and a career-high five steals. He surpassed his previous career high off 11 set on Saturday in a home win over Urbana.
"We were struggling there on offense," Lake Erie head coach Cliff Hunt said. "But if we share the ball, we can have different people help us. Matt was the guy tonight."
He was an efficient 7-for-9 from the floor, including two three-pointers for the Storm, which had trouble getting good looks against a Gannon defense that leads the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference in points allowed.
The Storm and Golden Knights (11-12) fought through herky-jerky first half that featured 16 total turnovers and 18 fouls. Gannon led, 30-22, with two minutes left in the half, but Lake Erie closed with a 8-1 run to trail just 31-30 at the break after Grendel hit mid-range jumper with one second left.
The Storm shot just 32 percent (10-for-31) in the first stanza, and while Gannon hit 46 percent (10-for-22), Lake Erie held a huge advantage in rebounding, 24-11. The Storm grabbed 13 offensive rebounds in the half and held a 10-2 advantage in second-chance points.
"That's something Coach has preached to us. Crash the boards," said senior forward Darnell Campbell (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood), who finished with seven points and a game-high nine rebounds.
The teams traded leads throughout the early parts of the second half, but the Storm finally took control of the fast-paced game as Ethan Bradshaw (Cincinnati, Ohio/Harmony Prep) and freshman guard Alex Davis (Macedonia, Ohio/Nordonia) each hit a pair of three-pointers in the second half. Bradshaw had 16 of his 18 in the second half. He has 36 points in the last two second halves of games, including the 77-68 win over Urbana on Saturday (Feb. 13).
"We come out with the mindset to win," Bradshaw said. "We feel we can play with anybody."
The Storm has shown that this season, taking a pair of ranked teams to the wire on the road, only to come up just two points short each time. This time, against a historically prolific program, the Storm pulled out the win.
"We've taken huge strides in the last several games for this program," Hunt said. "This was a statement that we're going in the right direction."
The Storm now has two road wins under its belt, both coming at the Hammermill Center, where no team had beaten Gannon twice in the same season since Cheney did it 24 years ago.
Lake Erie will play its final road game of the season on
Saturday (Feb. 20) at Ohio Dominican before returning home to play
No. 11 Indiana (Pa.) on Monday (Feb. 22) at 7 p.m.