Under the Boards
Week-in-Review: The Charge had another busy week – again, both on the court and off.Last Friday night, the Charge got double-doubles from their All-Star duo of Kevin Jones (23 points, 13 boards) and Arinze Onuaku (15, 16) and closed the season series at 7-1 against the Erie BayHawks – topping them, 104-82, at the Canton Civic Center.
Canton led by as many as 24 points and led for the final 31 minutes of the game, holding the East Division rivals to just 39 percent shooting from the field.
The following day, one of those All-Stars – Arinze Onuaku – was called up to Canton’s parent club, the Cavaliers, where he inked a 10-day contract. At the time of his call-up, the former Syracuse standout was averaging 14.4 points and 9.7 rebounds – including 11 double-doubles – in 26 contests with the Charge. He also appeared in three NBA games earlier this year with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Onuaku practiced with the Cavaliers that day, but was back in central Stark County later that night, as the Charge took on the Texas legends. The drive apparently didn’t tire him out as Arinze went on to tally his 12th double-double of the year with 13 points and 10 boards. Kevin Jones, again, also doubled-up with 22 points and 12 boards as the Charge blew past the Legends – sweeping the season series, 2-0, leading the entire game and by as many as 21 in the 118-106 victory.
On Thursday afternoon, Canton made another roster move, acquiring guard Brandon Paul from the available player pool.
The 22-year-old Paul recently played with Nizkny Novgorod of the Russian Pro Basketball League. He also went to Summer League with the Minnesota Timberwolves after a solid four-year career at the University of Illinois, where he was third-team All-Big Ten and third in the conference in scoring as a senior.
On Thursday night, the Charge (22-14) traveled to Maine, where they fell to the Red Claws, 110-105, at the Portland Expo Building.
The Red Claws led by a point at intermission, but Kevin Jones took over in the third, notching a dozen points on a perfect 5-for-5 shooting from the floor, and the Canton led by six heading into the final period.
Canton continued to lead through the fourth, but a four-point play by Maine’s Frank Gaines tied the game at 103-103 and a Chris Babb trey gave the Red Claws a lead they would not relinquish.
Kevin Jones finished with his third straight double-double, leading the Charge with 26 points and 15 boards. Jorge Gutierrez added 10 points, nine boards and eight assists and Aleksander Czyz pitched in with 23 points and six rebounds.
Did You Know: Newly-acquired Charge guard Will Cherry is Montana’s all-time steals leader and, with his 265 thefts, is second all-time in Big Sky Conference history.
They Said It: “We’ve said it since the beginning: To be a no-excuse team, you have to wear it on your chest every single time you step out on the floor. So, regardless of what you’re feeling, you have to put everything that you have in the tank out there for each other. When you’re playing with the belief in your teammates and yourself, that positive energy kind of carries you through.”
-Charge Head Coach Steve Hetzel on his squad playing through fatigue in the season’s second half
Stat of the Week: The Charge are 16-3 this season when holding opponents under 100 points.
Look Ahead: Canton is in the midst of a short-but-tough road stretch this weekend – playing three games in four days away from the Memorial Civic Center. They’ll get another shot at Maine tonight and travel to Springfield to take on the Armor on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m.
The Charge come into the weekend still atop the East Division, one game ahead of Fort Wayne and 7.5 games ahead of the Red Claws (14-20) – who they’ll face for the third time this season on Friday.
In two games against Maine, Shane Edwards averaging 18.5 points and 7.5 boards. For the Red Claws, Frank Gaines has averaged exactly 20 points on 56 percent shooting in two games against Canton.
After Friday, the two squads face each other just once more – a March 26th meeting in Canton.
Springfield, led by the second-ranked prospect in the D-Leauge – Darius Johnson Odom – comes into the weekend in 4th place in the East Division, 8.5 games behind the Charge. Springfield also recently acquired the D-League’s No. 4 prospect – and Kevin Jones’ former West Virginia teammate – Devin Ebanks, who suited up for the “Prospects” squad at the D-League All-Stat Game in New Orleans.
Canton leads the series with Springfield, 4-1, with three more matchups to go this season.
Fans can follow all of the action with live stats and a live YouTube stream of the game on CantonCharge.com.