Big Finish Lifts Charge Past BayHawks

The Canton Charge used a strong finish to defeat the Erie BayHawks, 112-100, in front of 3,056 at the Memorial Civic Center on Friday night. The victory improves Cantonís record to 25-16 on the season and increases their East Division lead to 3.5 games, while Erie dropped to 22-20.

After the Charge led 28-25 following the first quarter, the home team opened the game up in the second by hitting 65% of their shots and leading by as many as 18 points. Kyle Gibson scored 11 of his 15 first half points in the second quarter as the Charge held a 61-50 lead at the half. The Charge starting five netted 54 of the teamís 61 points on 22-of-31 shooting from the field for 71%.

The BayHawks came alive in the third period to outscore the Charge 31-19, cooling down the home teamís offensive output to just 37% from the field while hitting 52% of their own shots. Mustafa Shakur scored seven of Erieís last nine points of the third and gave them their first advantage since 5:44 in the first on an eight-foot bank shot, as the visitors climbed back to take an 81-80 lead heading into the fourth.

Canton bounced back with an 11-2 run early in the fourth to go back up 94-85, but Erie would not go away, immediately initiating an 11-0 run of their own to pull back ahead 96-94. The Charge would quickly find their winning form when trailing 98-97 with 4:18 left, they forced nine consecutive BayHawks misses on a 15-2 run where Gibson scored seven points to help Canton finish the contest and snap a four-game losing streak to Erie.

All five Charge starters scored 15+ points and combined for 99 of the teamís 112 points. Gibson finished with a game-high 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting with four assists in 37 minutes. Kevin Jones added 23 points with nine rebounds in 37 minutes. Arinze Onuaku notched his 14th double-double of the year with 17 points and 10 rebounds in 29 minutes, while Kyle Weaver had his first double-double with Canton in his effort of 15 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in 42 minutes. Antoine Agudio rounded out the starters with 19 points, including 9-of-9 from the free-throw line, in 31 minutes.

Shakur finished with 17 points and two steals in 42 minutes for Erie. Cory Higgins added a team-high 20 points with four rebounds, four assists and two steals in 39 minutes. Kyle Goldcamp posted a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds in 33 minutes. Henry Sims poured in 15 points with six rebounds, five assists and two steals in 36 minutes. Six BayHawks players scored in double figures in the game.

The two teams will meet for the final time this season tomorrow night, March 16th at 7:30 p.m. at the Memorial Civic Center. Itís Dribble to Stop Diabetes Night, with diabetes prevention themed messaging, promotions and concourse tables. Tickets start as low as $7 and fans can receive more information by heading HERE.

POSTGAME QUOTES

CHARGE HEAD COACH ALEX JENSEN

(On hitting big shots down the stretch):ďYou watch the NBA playoff games and thatís what it is, players hitting shots. We hit them tonight and my message after the game was, ĎIf you guys turn it up a little defensively, you donít have to rely on those.í Some nights for whatever reason you have to rely on those and tonight, fortunately, we were the ones who hit those shots. We were a step off defensively. (Cory) Higgins got to the basket where he wanted and we got lucky because they missed open threes. It was just one of those nights where we hit tough shots and they missed not as tough of shots.Ē

G KYLE GIBSON

(On hitting shots late in games):ďIíve just been taking what the defense is giving me at the end. By the end of the game, I usually know who I match up against and who the best match for the team is. I just try and exploit those matchups.Ē

Fans can stay up-to-date on team news by following the team @CantonCharge on Twitter here and on Facebook here.