PAINESVILLE, Ohio-- Ohio Dominican University cut the Storm's lead down to two in the final minute of play, but two clutch free-throws by Tom Parker (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius) sealed the win for the Lake Erie College men's basketball team Saturday (Feb. 1) as they defeated the Panthers, 89-85, in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) South Division play.
After back-and-forth play to start, the Storm pulled ahead to take an 18-13 lead six minutes in, with Sims scoring nine points. The Panthers matched the Storm shot-for-shot over the ensuing five minutes until a three-pointer from Thomas gave the Storm their largest lead of the half, 33-24.
The Panthers fought back and eventually took a 37-36 lead with less than four minutes left in the half. After falling behind by three, Lake Erie closed the half on a 7-0 run to take a 46-42 lead into the break.
Thomas led the Storm with 15 points in the first-half while Sims added 10. Sean Howard (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) and Nick Wells (Akron, Ohio/St.Vincent-St. Mary) had six each off the bench. The Storm shot 53.1% (17-of-32) from the floor and 46.7% (seven-of-15) from beyond the arch. The Panthers also hit seven-of-15 three-pointers and shot 53.1% (17-of-32) from the floor in the opening half. The Storm committed just two turnovers while forcing the Panthers to commit eight.
Lake Erie continued to roll early on in the second-half, going on a 14-6 run to move ahead 60-48 with 14:30 to play. Once again, the Panther shooters got hot, closing the gap and tying the game at 68 with 7:43 to play.
After exchanging baskets, Thomas and Andy Bosley (Columbus, Ohio/Orange) hit back-to-back three-pointers to push the Storm ahead by six, fueling a 15-5 run to gain a ten point advantage with 2:34 left.
Ohio Dominican did not go away quietly, closing the Storm's 10-point lead in the final 90 seconds to just two. With six seconds on the clock, trailing by two, the Panthers sent Parker to the free-throw line but Parker had ice in his veins as he converted both attempts to seal the win for the Storm.
Thomas had four assists and two rebounds in addition to his 27 points. Bosley ended the game with 11 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Michael Morris (New Palestine, Ind./New Palestine) netted eight. Parker finished with seven points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals.
Chad Nelson led Ohio Dominican with 20 points. Kevin Domingue and Mark Minch scored 14 and 13, respectively. Trent Weaver had 12 points and eight rebounds.
The teams were almost even in shooting, with the Storm finishing at 52.5% (32-of-61) while the Panthers went 51.7% (30-of-58). Ohio Dominican outshot the Storm from the three-point line, 46.4% (13-of-28) to 40.7% (11-of-27). The Panthers also owned a slight rebounding edge, 32-30.
Lake Erie committed just eight turnovers while the Panthers committed 13.
The Storm wrap-up their three-game homestand Monday against Ashland University.