Under the Boards
Week-in-Review: As the Cavaliers head West for their longest sojourn of the season, the Charge head back East, although – like the Cavs – they don’t play in front of the home fans again until January 20.
Canton (11-6) split a pair of contests in California – falling to Bakersfield to start the trip before bouncing back to wallop Santa Cruz two nights later.
In the 104-85 win over the Warriors affiliate, the Charge got off to a big start, led by Kevin Jones – who scored 12 of Canton’s first 24 points. The Charge shot 77 percent in the first quarter and kept the heat on the rest of the way – getting out on a 14-4 run to start the second half and barely looking back.
Jones finished with 19 points and nine boards in the win; Jorge Gutierrez had another nice all-around effort – adding 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
From there Canton took part in the annual Reno Showcase – where they again split a pair of contests.
The Charge dropped the first game of the Showcase – falling, 93-88, to the Idaho Stampede. After a see-saw first half, Canton took a seven-point lead early in the fourth quarter. But Idaho came back to tie the affair at 82-apiece with under two minutes to go. The Stampede proceeded to hit all eight free throws in the closing moments – ending the game on an 11-6 run and handing the Charge their sixth loss of the season.
Kevin Jones again led the Charge with his fifth double-double of the season, netting 19 points and 10 boards. Shane Edwards also doubled-up in the loss, finishing with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Canton wrapped up their stint at the Showcase with their second-largest margin of victory of the season, cruising past the Texas Legends in the first meeting of the season between the two clubs. The first stanza was a back-and-forth affair, and Texas took a 12-point lead into the locker room. But Steve Hetzel’s squad squashed Texas defensively in the second half – holding them to just 33 points in the final two quarters to run away with the win.
Gilbert Brown – who’s been big for Canton since returning from a hamstring injury – led the Charge with 24 points and eight assists and Shane Edwards doubled-up with 23 points and 13 boards.
Did You Know: Over the past three years, Charge swingman Gilbert Brown has played in Germany, the Dominican Republic, Turkey, Venezuela and Puerto Rico before joining the Charge.
They Said It: “The team showed great resolve, stuck together, nobody hung their head, we put together a game plan and they stuck with it. They did the job. It was a great victory for us, for the team, for morale and we got the win, it felt great.”
-Charge coach Steve Hetzel following Canton’s come-from-behind win over Texas on Tuesday night
Stat of the Week: In Tuesday’s 18-point win over the Legends, the Charge outrebounded Texas, 52-25 – the lowest rebounding total by a Canton opponent this season. Shane Edwards led the Charge with 13 boards in the victory.
Look Ahead: The Charge (now 4-3 on the road, one game up on Fort Wayne in the East Division) head to Erie this weekend, for a back-to-back with the BayHawks, a team they toppled five times already this season – including a pair of victories at Erie Insurance Arena..
The struggling BayHawks are 3-12 on the season, including 1-7 in their own gym – and sit seven games behind Canton in the East.
Canton’s eight-game junket wraps up next week with a pair of contests in Springfield next weekend. They’ll face the Armor (also struggling at 4-13) on Friday night, January 17, and the following Sunday afternoon. The following day, Canton finally comes home to the Civic Center, where the Charge welcome the Maine Red Claws for a Martin Luther King Day matinee – tip-off at 3 p.m.
Fans can follow all of the action with live stats and a live YouTube stream of the game on CantonCharge.com.