The Wright State Lakers traveled to Batavia, Ohio to take on University of Cincinnati Clermont in another USCAA showdown. The Cougars of Clermont came into the game ranked number 17 in the latest USCAA DII National Poll. The Lakers came into the game having won three of their last four. Out of the gate Cincinnati Clermont was able to build an early lead with scorching outside shooting hitting 7 of their first 11 three point attempts. The Lakers were able to keep it close by responding to each Cougar run. At the end of the first half the Lakers were down 47-40 to the Cougars. Despite being down, the Lakers found success pressuring the Cougars and wearing the Cougars down, with their depth.
In the second half the Lakers were slow out of the gate and the home team built their lead as large as 16 points. The ten minute mark the game changed when the Lakers switched their defensive strategy up. The new strategy stifled the Cougars in the halfcourt. The Lakers used their defense to create offense and found rhythm. The comeback started with big basket from Noah Benson, from there the Lakers fed off the energy Benson brought. Isaac Clay, Jordan Gorman, and Quincy Green made big shot after big shot in the second half. The Lakers took the lead with 1:37 to go, and were in control, but an empty offensive possession allowed the Cougars to come back and tie the game and send it to the first overtime. In the first overtime the Lakers took control again, but the Cougars were resilient and had an answer for every Laker bucket. The Lakers up 3 with 26 seconds to go, called a timeout to set their defense, but Jamie Carson of the Cougars had other ideas and hit a 3 with 2.9 seconds to go. Jordan Gorman raced the ball up the floor and had a great look from 30 feet and saw the ball rim out, and the game would go to it's second overtime. In the second OT the Lakers got a huge put-back layup off an offensive rebound from Nick Passino. The Lakers would not relinquish the lead anymore as Isaac Clay iced the game from the free throw line in the games final two minutes. Clay went 12/13 from the free throw line on the night to go along with his career high 26 points. The win moves the Lakers to 6-2 in USCAA play on the year, as well as the Lakers second win over a ranked opponent this season.
Inside the Box Score:
- The Lakers won the turnover battle forcing the Cougars to commit 27 turnovers, while the Lakers only turned it over 13 times in the game
- Jordan Gorman stuffed the stat sheet with 22 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals
- Quincy Green had a career high 24 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals while knocking down 5 three pointers
- Lakers held the advantage in rebounding as well over the Cougars 52-47 (including 18 offensive boards for the road team)
- After Cincinnati Clermont Cougars shot 47% in the first half the Lakers held the Cougars to only 33% shooting in the second half and overtimes.
What Coach Says:
Coach Richard Westerlund said this about the game, "This was a great win for our program. I am so proud of our guys for the way we fought tonight and battled back after being down 14 points midway through the second half. We told our guys this week that Clermont is very tough at home, and they nearly shot us out the gym. We were fortunate our defensive adjustments worked in the second half. We had so many guys step up tonight. Adrian Palacios and Noah Benson although in limited minutes were very valuable to our success tonight. I thought David Swillum also brought a lot of good defensive energy. Nick Passino played big time minutes late in the second half and overtimes. He was rebounding the ball at a high level. We've been preaching the ball finds energy on both ends of the floor, and I felt like our guys brought energy. We still need to clean things up as our goal is to play forty complete minutes of basketball. All that said, I am very proud of this group of guys achieving what we did tonight." On the play of Gorman, Isaac and Green, "Those guys made big play after big play. Q grabbed what seemed like every rebound and hit multiple big threes for us down the stretch. Isaac was money at the free throw line. Between Isaac and Jordan it felt like late in the second half and overtime periods one of those guys hit a big shot. Although our backcourt might be small, I'll take Isaac and JG over anybody. They're fearless and compete. They aren't afraid to make plays. JG had another really solid game for us." On winning USCAA games, "Winning USCAA games are important. I love the fact we are 6-2 so far in USCAA play, but we cannot be satisfied. We still have more work to do, but these guys have been embracing the challenges the last few weeks and I am excited to get back to work with this group."
The Lakers will travel to Indiana to take on, NCAA Division II, Oakland City University in a weekend back to back series February 10th and 11th. Tip-off for both games will be at 3p