Under the Boards
Week-in-Review: It was a busy week for the Charge – both on and off the hardwood.
On Monday afternoon, the Charge finally returned home after an eight-game road trip – taking on the Red Claws in a Martin Luther King Day matinee.
It was a strong homecoming for Steve Hetzel’s squad, holding off a late Maine run and sealing the 99-94 win with a pair of free throws. The win improved the Charge’s mark to 12-3 when holding their opponent under the century mark.
Shane Edwards led Canton with a season-high 28 points on 13-of-22 shooting, adding seven boards, four assists and a pair of steals. The Charge mauled Maine on the offensive glass, out-rebounding the Red Claws, 20-3.
On Wednesday night, the Charge got some reinforcements when the Cavaliers assigned rookies Carrick Felix and Sergey Karasev to the team. And both players were ready to roll later that evening as the Charge exploded offensively against the Mad Ants visited the Memorial Civic Center.
The East Division matchup was tight throughout until Canton went on a 20-0 run midway through the third to put the game out of reach – cruising to the 120-99 win. The 120 points and 21-point margin of victory were both season highs for the Charge.
Bo Spencer led seven Charge players in double-figures with 17 points. Jorge Gutierrez added 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting, with nine boards and eight assists. Carrick Felix scored 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting and Sergey Karasev pitched in with six points and three boards.
In seven games with Canton, Felix has averaged 10.7 points and 5.4 boards in 28 minutes per contest. In his four games with the Charge, Karasev has averaged 12.5 points and 3.5 boards in 29 minutes.
Wednesday’s victory improved the Charge to 15-8. They’re now 9-3 at home, 6-5 on the road and one game ahead of Fort Wayne in the Division.
Aside from the arrival of Felix and Karasev, the Charge also made a mid-week deal to acquire combo guard Ben Uzoh from the Tulsa 66ers in exchange for a 2014 third-round draft pick.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Uzoh played in 22 games with the 66ers this season, averaging 12.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.5 steals. A physical guard and streaky shooter, Uzoh has 64 games of NBA experience, and the Charge hope to have him available for their back-to-back games this weekend at Delaware.
Did You Know: Ben Uzoh has played 60 NBA games with three different teams, including New Jersey, Toronto and a pair of games with the Wine and Gold in 2011-12, averaging 2.0 points and 2.0 boards in his short stint.
They Said It: “The more they play with these guys the more they understand it’s not so far off from what they’re seeing up there. For everyone, the more times they see each other, the more familiar they become, and the easier the transition is.”
-Charge head coach Steve Hetzel on Sergey Karasev and Carrick Felix’ transition from the Cavaliers to the Charge
Stat of the Week: In Wednesday’s win over Fort Wayne, the Charge set a franchise record, shooting 61 percent from the floor in scoring a season-high 120 points.
Look Ahead: After coming home for a pair of midweek contests, the Charge are back on the road for a weekend back-to-back against the Delaware 87ers.
The first-year 87ers (4-20) are bringing up the rear in the D-League’s East Division, 11.5 games behind the Charge. Delaware is 1-8 at home this year and have lost nine of their last 10, but one of their four wins this season came against Canton, 121-112 in their first-ever home game on December 8.
The 87ers are led by 6-9, 290-lb forward Tiny Gallon, who’s averaging 15.7 points and 9.6 boards per contest (and who scored 73 points and grabbed 43 rebounds in three games last week. Another player to watch for is Thanasis Antetokounmpo (11.6 ppg), who’s the brother of Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo – who will face the Cavaliers on Friday night at The Q.
Fans can follow all of the action with live stats and a live YouTube stream of the game on CantonCharge.com.