Under the Boards
Week-in-Review: This weekend, the Charge finally wrap up their extended road stretch – wrapping up eight straight away from home with a pair of contests in Springfield.
Canton has split the first six games of the trip, including last week’s trek to Erie, where the BayHawks topped the Charge (12-7) for the first time in seven attempts this season.
Last Friday night, the BayHawks shot 54 percent from the floor in their lone victory over the Charge, weathering a late Canton run and holding on for the 113-109 win at Erie Insurance Arena. Jorge Gutierrez led all scorers in the loss – finishing with 26 points along with seven boards and six assists. Bo Spencer and Robert Hite added 17 points apiece.
On Saturday, things returned to normal for Steve Hetzel’s squad as they bounced back to beat Erie, 107-96. Gutierrez scored 11 of his 19 points in the first quarter as the Charge ran out to a 14-2 lead. They shot 78 percent in the third quarter and pulled ahead by as many as 21. Erie cut Canton’s lead to seven late in the affair, but the Charge went 8-for-10 from the stripe in the fourth to seal the win.
But some of the best news Canton got this week was that center Arinze Onuaku, the club’s second-leading scorer, is due to return from a turf toe injury after missing the Charge’s last six games. He practiced with the team on Wednesday and should be in uniform when the team takes on the Armor this weekend.
In Onuaku’s absence, Shane Edwards had stepped in admirably – averaging 14.0 points and 8.2 boards over that six-game span.
In other personnel news, on Wednesday the Cavaliers assigned rookie swingman Carrick Felix to the Charge. This season, Felix has played in three games for the Charge – averaging 9.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in 21.3 minutes per contest. Like Onuaku, Felix will be available for this weekend’s back-to-back in Springfield.
Did You Know: After missing eight of Canton’s first 10 games while nursing a hamstring injury, forward Gilbert Brown has been on a tear in the New Year. He’s notched six straight games in double-figures, and in the calendar year 2014, has gone 14-for-22 from beyond the arc and has missed just two free throws in 22 attempts.
They Said It: “The system is perfect for me from the standpoint that this team plays together so well that a lot of opportunities open up in the offense for myself and others. And that’s one of the reasons that my assist numbers are up, because of the bond we have on the court and the way we move the basketball.”
-Charge swingman Gilbert Brown on why the Charge’s system has been a good fit for him
Stat of the Week: So far this season, the Charge are an impressive 6-2 on the second night of a back-to-back.
Look Ahead: The Charge – 5-4 on the road this season – wrap up their eight-game roadie this weekend and come into the two contests with reinforcements.
Canton comes into the weekend one game up on Fort Wayne in the East Division and face a Springfield squad that’s led by guard Darius Johnson-Odom, who’s averaging 21.5 ppg this season, and comes in at 5-14.
The Charge finally return home on Monday, when they’ll face the Maine Red Claws in a Martin Luther King Day matinee at the Memorial Civic Center.
Fans can follow all of the action with live stats and a live YouTube stream of the game on CantonCharge.com.