PAINESVILLE, Ohio – A second half push fell short for the Ohio Dominican men's basketball team as the Panthers fell to Lake Erie by the score of 89-85 on Saturday afternoon.
The first half tilt with Lake Erie featured 10 lead changes and was a tightly contested game through the first five minutes of the opening frame, as neither team could make a strong run. At the first media timeout, Lake Erie led by just seven 18-11.
Sophomore Chad Nelson (Columbus, Ohio) and senior Ledarius Stennis (Moss Point, MS) hit back to back three's to cut the Storm to three, 20-17, but a pair of treys by Lake Erie put the Storm out front again at 26-19 with 11:17 to play.
After the Storm took its largest lead of the half at 33-24 with 7:11 left to play, the Panthers used an 11-2 run to get within one, 36-35 thanks to a three-point play by sophomore Mark Minch (West Chester, Ohio).
Senior Brandon Carr (Chicago, Ill) gave the Panthers a one point lead, 37-36 after a steal at half court and a basket on the other end.
Sean Howard gave the Storm the lead once more with 3:18 to play but Carr answered Howard's basket with his first three of the game. Sophomore Trent Weaver (Columbus, Ohio) gave ODU a three point lead at 42-39 on a pair of free throws with just under two minutes remaining in the frame.
Lake Erie closed the half scoring the next seven points, to take a 46-42 lead into halftime.
ODU shot 53.3 percent from the field on 16-of-30 shooting, including 46.7 percent (7-of-15) from long range.
Lake Erie opened the first five minutes of the second half on a 14-6 run to take a 58-48 lead with 14:48 left to play.
Down by 10, 64-54 with 11:22 to play, Stennis three-point basket cut the lead to 64-57 and kept chipping away at Lake Erie's lead after Mel Leach (Shaker Heights, Ohio) basket to cut the lead to 66-59 with 9:48 showing on the game clock.
Nelson's three just outside of the under-10 media timeout cut the lead to four, 66-62, and a free throw by Minch and a basket by Nelson cut the lead to one 66-65 with eight minutes remaining, and less than a minute later , Minch's drive to the basket resulted in a three-point play to know the score 68-68.
Lake Erie pushed the lead back out to six after a pair of three-point baskets and extended that lead to eight, 78-70 with 4:02 to play.
Ohio Dominican made it a two-point game 87-85 after back to back three's by Carr and Nelson and just 7.6 seconds on the clock.
Forced to foul, Lake Erie hit both free throws and the Panthers could not overcome the four point deficit, falling to the Storm by the final score of 89-85.
Nelson led the Panthers with 20 points, while Stennis added 14 points and four assists off the bench. Minch had 13 points while Weaver chipped in 12 points.
Ohio Dominican will return to the court on Monday, Feb. 3 for a GLIAC South Division contest against Tiffin in Alumni Hall.
Contact: Sarah Twiggs