Charge Get Back to .500 With Win Over Energy

The Canton Charge climbed back to .500 with a 100-84 victory over the Iowa Energy at the Canton Memorial Civic Center on Saturday night. The win was the Charge’s third-straight overall and fourth-consecutive at home, evening them out at 5-5 on the season. Iowa dropped to 2-5 after the first of five matchups of the year between the two teams.

Canton pulled ahead 25-16 after the first quarter behind an efficient offensive attack of 52% shooting on 11-of-21 attempts, including eight points from Arinze Onuaku. Iowa would awaken for 32 points in the second quarter, ignited by an 18-2 run, that would turn the table in favor of a 48-44 lead for the visitors at the intermission. Morris Almond totaled 12 points in the first half for the Energy.

Iowa extended their lead to as much as seven in the third period, but the Canton defense would employ a run of their own. The Charge held the Energy scoreless for 3:42 amidst an 11-0 run that proved to be the difference maker in the game. Canton pulled ahead on a Jon Leuer reverse layup with 3:05 left in the third quarter and never looked back, ultimately outscoring Iowa 59-39 in the second half. The Charge outrebounded the Energy 53-41 in the game, continuing their dominance on the glass as of late as they have amassed a streak of outrebounding their opponents in all 10 games they have played this season.

Leuer continued his reign of double-doubles with his fourth-straight, pouring in 20 points, grabbing 16 rebounds, dishing out three assists and nabbing a steal in 37 minutes. Leuer has also scored 20+ points in each of the last three games. Onuaku also continued his run of double-doubles with his third-straight and sixth overall this season, scoring a season-high 20 points and bringing down 15 boards with three blocks in 29 minutes. Micheal Eric scored seven points and swatted four blocks for the second time in as many nights, as the Charge denied eight shots as a team to tie their season high set just a night ago.

Chris Wright paced Iowa with a solid all-around effort of 20 points, seven rebounds, nine assists and two steals in 44 minutes. In just his second game since being acquired from the Maine Red Claws earlier this week, Almond finished with 14 points and grabbed six boards with seven turnovers in 37 minutes. Terrence Jennings contributed 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting with five rebounds and two steals in 24 minutes of relief off the bench. Nick Murphy added 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting with six rebounds and two steals in 31 minutes for the Energy.

Canton will hit the road for the first of a three-game swing, beginning with a stop in Fort Wayne to take on the Mad Ants on Tuesday, December 18th at 7:00 p.m.

Postgame Quotes

Head Coach Alex Jensen

(Opening Statement): “Tonight, I told the guys everybody made a play that wasn’t scoring a basket, but they made a play that changed the course of the game. Alex (Ruoff) took a charge, (Antoine) Agudio played great defense on (Nick) Murphy, Michael Eric came in and was a presence when he made that blocked shot and Arinze (Onuaku) did the same thing. We came up with a jump ball, everybody made a play like that that wasn’t making a shot that affected the game. I told the guys all the substitutions I made at the end was to give breathers for guys so they could get a few minutes and come in and finish it off and the guys that came in made an impact. So I give them all the credit. I think the guys, for a good part of the game, defended and they really took pride in that. They shared the ball on the offensive end and got open looks and easy baskets. I think we only had five turnovers in the second half, which was huge.”

(On buckling down on defense in fourth quarter): “A big difference between our first couple games was if you remember those games, we lost because we gave up some offensive rebounds in the end. But in the end of the fourth quarter when we had that lead, the guards and big guys did a good job of rebounding down and making sure we got it. Hopefully they are starting to believe me and can remember that good defense makes offense easy.”

(On Alex Ruoff’s resiliency hitting three-pointers despite shooting struggles): “You know it’s funny because I tell them as the days go by, ‘I’m never going to say anything to you for shooting an open shot.’… He (Alex) missed three before he made those two (in the fourth quarter), and every one of them was a good look. If he had gone 1-for-8 instead of 3-for-8, most of the time you don’t lose games because you miss shots. It helps, but defense will keep you in it.”

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