Canton Tops Erie for Seventh-Straight Home Victory
The Canton Charge defeated the Erie BayHawks, 105-96, in front of 2,590 at the Memorial Civic Center on Friday night. Canton now sits at 7-1 on the young season and has won seven consecutive home games dating back to last year, while Erie is still looking for their first victory at 0-6.
Canton was able to build an early lead in the first when leading 13-12 with 6:52 remaining, they went on an 8-0 run over a span of 2:02. The Charge ultimately ended the opening quarter with a 31-22 advantage after hitting 13-of-21 shots (62%) from the field, including 24 points in the paint.
The home team continued their offensive efficiency in the second with seven players getting in the scoring column in hitting 12-of-20 shots (65%) from the floor and extending to their largest lead of the game at 60-41 at the intermission. Erie surrendered seven turnovers in the quarter, while Justin Brownlee kept them around with 10 of the team’s 19 points in the quarter on 5-of-9 shooting.
A 7-0 Canton run in the first 1:29 out of the gate in the third set them up with their largest lead of the game at 67-41. The deficit remained above 20 for most of the period before the BayHawks closed the period on a 8-2 run in the final 3:43 spurred by forcing three Canton turnovers and Scott Suggs hitting a pair of three-pointers. The Charge held an 83-64 advantage heading into the game’s final frame.
Erie forced seven Canton turnovers resulting in nine points in the fourth, while outscoring the Charge 32-22, but were unable to recuperate from trailing by as many as 20. Suggs and new addition Lewis Jackson each netted 10 points in the quarter. As a team, Canton finished 41-of-76 from the field (53.9%, season-high) and also dished out a season-best 25 assists on the night.
Arinze Onuaku poured in a career-high 29 points on 11-of-11 shooting with nine rebounds, a season-high three blocks and one steal in 28 minutes. Jorge Gutierrez added 12 points, five rebounds, six assists and two steals in 30 minutes. In his season debut, Robert Hite supplied 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting with three rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench. Shane Edwards scored 11 points and grabbed six rebounds in 20 minutes, while Bo Spencer added eight points and seven assists in 27 minutes.
For Erie, Suggs finished with 22 points and four steals in 44 minutes. CJ Leslie scored 14 points and grabbed five boards in 27 minutes. Jackson finished with 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting with six rebounds, six assists and two steals in 30 minutes off the bench. Brownlee supplied 12 points, six rebounds and four steals in 34 minutes of relief.
Head Coach Steve Hetzel
(On Arinze Onuaku’s play tonight): "He's a big boy, and he's gotten the job done thus far this season. We like to feature him and see what he's got early in the game; we like looking to go inside. Arinze is a top-tier player in this league and he's NBA-ready as soon as he gets the right opportunity. These guys got to show that it doesn't matter who's on the court. They've got to show that they can get the job done because when they play at the next level, I guarantee you there's a good defender there, so you've got to score against the best."
(On Robert Hite making his season debut tonight): "I'm just so happy for him. When we made the trade for him in this offseason, we were very excited to get a veteran leader, a guy that understands how to play the game and just a positive-energy guy… I'm just happy for him. Rob is what a coach wants out of a player: somebody that shows up every day and if we're not doing something right, he's an extension of the staff and he's a leader. He's a positive part of this team and it showed tonight."
(On playing Erie again tomorrow night): "You give them confidence. You've got to play the same team tomorrow, and those guys that are walking off the court (are thinking), 'Hey, we can play against these guys.' You don't like giving the other team momentum in any way, whether it's for the next night or during the game, so we would have liked to finish better."
F/C Arinze Onuaku
(On his efficiency tonight): "The guards find me in spots where I can score the ball early. We've got a great offense to where I'm catching the ball in places where it's a jab-step-and-up or one dribble and I'm up. Like I said, credit to the guards for finding me so I'm able to finish."
(On if he changes his approach when playing a smaller-sized team): "I try to approach it the same way every night… I'm trying to (prepare the same) regardless of who is on the floor. I think that's what my team expects from me. Night in and night out, whoever is in front of me, they want me to be able to give them the same presence every night."
The two teams will meet again tomorrow night, December 14th, at 7:00 p.m., with tickets starting as low as $7! The first 1,500 in the door will receive a Charge Ugly Sweater T-Shirt courtesy of the Ohio Lottery, while fans are encouraged to wear their own “ugly” Christmas sweaters and take photos in our Charge Awkward Family Photo Booth! The contest will also feature dollar hot dogs presented by Sugardale and postgame autographs presented by FirstEnergy Solutions. To purchase single game tickets or for all general ticket information, fans can call 1-866-444-1944 or visit www.CantonCharge.com/tickets. Fans can sign-up to be a Charge Insider for breaking news and exclusive offers at www.CantonCharge.com/insider.