EVANSVILLE, Ind. -- Lake Erie's upset bid over the 18th-ranked University of Southern Indiana fell just short as the Storm lost, 90-89, on a 3-point Screaming Eagle buzzer beater on Saturday (Nov. 23).
The Storm was fueled by a 35-8 run in the second, rebounding from a 15-point deficit, before the Eagles ended the game on a 10-2 run in the final two minutes of play.
The Screaming Eagles came out on top of an offensive battle in the first half with a 46-37 lead. Garrick Sims scored the first points of the contest before Southern Indiana went on a 16-3 run to take control. The Storm slowly recovered throughout the first part of the half and regained the lead, 26-25, off a Riley Thomas (Cardington, Ohio/Cardington-Lincoln) three-pointer at the eight minute mark. The lead was short-lived. With the game tied at 28-28, the Screaming Eagles then closed the half on an 18-9 run.
Trailing by 15 four minutes into the second half, the Storm caught fire. Lake Erie quickly closed the gap and tied the game at 61-61 just three minutes later. The Storm continued to build momentum, taking the lead, 67-65, following a steal and dunk by Roy Alexander (Columbus, Ohio/Walnut Ridge). Lake Erie increased its lead to 87-80 by the two-minute mark.
Southern Indiana rallied late in the game, cutting the Storm's lead down to two, 87-85, with 55 seconds to play. Sims pushed the Storm lead up to 89-85 25 seconds later. Ben Jones was fouled by a Storm defender and converted his two free-throw attempts to once against bring the game within two. The Storm turned the ball over on the ensuing inbound. Following a timeout, the Screaming Eagles missed a jumper that was rebounded by Andy Bosley (Columbus, Ohio/Orange) but Southern Indiana forced a turnover, giving them one more chance, trailing by two. As time expired, Lawrence Thomas hit a 3-pointer for Southern Indiana, giving them the one point victory.
Thomas led the Storm with a season-high 26 points. Sims went 7-of-10 from the floor for 14 points. Alexander had two steals and a block to go with his 10 points. Bosley was a spark off the bench, scoring 12 points while grabbing a team-high eight rebounds. Steve Walczak (Columbus, Ohio/Olentangy) registered a pair of blocks.
Aaron Nelson led Southern Indiana with 31 points and 11 rebounds. Taylor Wischmeier (16 points, 10 rebounds) and Manny Ogunfolu (13 points, 12 rebounds) also tallied double-doubles. Thomas (12) and Gavin Schumann (10) hit double-digit scoring.
The Storm owned a slight advantage in shooting percentage (55.2%-52.4%) and were 13-of-25 (52%) on three-pointers compared to the Screaming Eagles' three-of-nine (33%). Lake Erie forced 11 turnovers while committing 10. Southern Indiana won the battle on the boards, 41-30.
Lake Erie will be back on the road next Saturday (Nov. 30) for the final nonconference game of the season against Slippery Rock University (Pa.).