Gibson's Late Three Sinks Springfield
Kyle Gibson drilled a three-point jumper with 5.3 seconds left that proved to be the game-winning points as the Canton Charge defeated the Springfield Armor 112-111 in front of 3,371 at the Memorial Civic Center on Saturday night. The win improved the Charge’s East Division-leading record to 22-14 while the Armor fell to 13-23.
Both teams got off to a hot start offensively, with Dominique Johnson netting 11 first quarter points to lead Canton to a 35-31 advantage after the first quarter. The Charge continued to outshoot the Armor in the second quarter, but Springfield was able to create more opportunities by forcing seven Canton turnovers that allowed the visitors to outscore them 31-22 in the period and take a 62-57 lead into the half.
The Charge pulled back ahead in the third quarter with a 17-2 run over a span of 4:34 in which five different players contributed scoring, giving them their largest lead of the game at 76-68. Springfield chipped away throughout the remainder of the period to dwindle Canton’s lead to 85-83 entering the fourth.
Canton built their advantage to as many as six in the early minutes of the fourth, but Springfield were again persistent with an 8-2 run to tie the game at 93-93. Three more ties ensued before the Armor were able to pull ahead 108-104 on a 7-3 run. Gibson first put the Charge back ahead 109-108 with a 16-foot jumper with 56.6 seconds left. After stops on both ends, Springfield grabbed two offensive rebounds and Willie Reed put back the third to give them the 110-109 lead.
After the Charge were unable to convert on the other end and had to foul, Tornike Shengelia split the pair of free throws that had the Armor up 111-109. Off the timeout with 8.4 seconds left, Gibson took the inbounds pass on the right wing and pumped to give himself space to dribble to his left. He let the ball fly and hit the three-point shot with 5.3 seconds left. Gibson then made the play on the defensive end to seal the deal as he stole the ball from Kris Joseph at the top of the lane just before time expired.
Gibson finished with a team-high 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting with four rebounds and six assists in 31 minutes for his ninth 20-point game of the season. Kevin Jones notched his seventh double-double in nine games with Canton this year, finishing with 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting with 12 rebounds in 27 minutes. Josh Selby had a solid all-around effort of 12 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in 32 minutes. Arinze Onuaku added 17 points with eight rebounds in 27 minutes.
Shengelia poured in a game-high 29 points with four steals in 33 minutes on assignment from the Brooklyn Nets. Reed came off the bench to score 19 points with seven rebounds and three blocks in 26 minutes. Joseph finished with 15 points and three rebounds in 34 minutes, while Ramone Moore was huge off the bench for the Armor in hitting 5-of-7 three-point attempts for 15 points in 20 minutes of relief.
Canton will continue East Division play when they travel to Fort Wayne to take on the Mad Ants in the last matchup of the season between the two teams on Tuesday, March 5th at 7:00 p.m.
CHARGE HEAD COACH ALEX JENSEN
(On tonight's game):“A win is a win and I give credit to Bob (MacKinnon) and Springfield because they played a double overtime game last night in Fort Wayne, but still came out and had a great first quarter. We were bad defensively but I give our guys credit, they kept fighting and never gave up. If you look at the stats, we shot 54 percent and they shot 40 and (we were) lucky to get one. We probably shouldn’t have won, but you always want to get a couple of those a year.”
(On Kyle Gibson's versatility):“He’s great and makes us as coaches look better than we are. He was good offensively at the beginning and not so much defensively, but he’s steady. He’s a guy that you want at the end of the game and he’s valuable. He’s played forward and backup point guard and he’s taken on a variety of roles.”
G KYLE GIBSON
(On the last offensive play of the game):“We had about eight or 12 seconds and Coach drew up a play for a two-point shot. Since we had enough time, we were going to try and get a quick two since we were only down two. I feel like I was trapped a little bit in the corner, so I side-stepped a big man and got off a good look.”
(On playing various positions and roles during the game tonight):“Really I just take a step back and see how the game is. I pick my spots where I need to score and be aggressive, looking for the mismatches on offense. I think we had a big advantage on the inside then they were double teaming with Arinze (Onuaku) to start the game. When he started going, it opened everybody else up.”