The Canton Charge took their first lead of the game on Friday night against the South Bay Lakers with 9:18 to go in the first quarter. They held a lead the entire game until the 4:12 mark of the fourth quarter when South Bay took a 99-98 lead on a Stephaun Branch basket before eventually losing 114-109 at the Canton Civic Center.
Canton got off to a hot start from the field as they shot 50% from the floor in the first quarter including 60% from three point range. Marcus Thornton connected on five of his six three point attempts in the quarter on his way to scoring 15 points leading the Charge to a 33-25 lead at the end of the frame. Cavaliers center Ante Zizic on assignment from Cleveland for the game put in nine points off the bench.
The Charge maintained their hot shooting in the second quarter as they shot 62% from the floor and 55% from three point range. Thornton scored another 10 points in the second quarter hitting two more three’s. Zizic also had another solid quarter as he scored six points and grabbed four rebounds. The Charge ended the first half shooting 55% from the floor and 58% from three. Thornton led the scoring with 25 points on 7-9 from three and Zizic had 15 points to go along with six boards. Canton took a 67-50 lead into the half.
The Charge went cold in third quarter hitting on 39% of their shots and only 1-7 from three. The Lakers tightened up their defense on the red hot shooting Thornton as he was only able to get off two shots in the quarter. Los Angeles Lakers 2016 second round pick Ivica Zubac was big inside for South Bay in the 3rd quarter as he scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds. The Lakers outscored Canton 29-23 in the third but the Charge still held a 90-79 lead.
Unfortunately Canton’s cold shooting carried over to the fourth quarter as they only hit on 37% and once again hit only 1-7 from three. The Lakers defense continued to clamp down on Thornton holding him to four points in the quarter as he missed both of his three point attempts. After hitting seven three’s in the first half he was shutout (0-2) in the second half.
“I got off to that great start. In the second half they started switching and running out at me at the three point line,” Thornton said. “You just gotta play the game and sometimes that happens, you just gotta go with the flow and keep playing.”
After the Lakers took brief lead at 99-98 before the Charge were able to stretch their lead back out to four at 105-101 with 2:42 to play on a Kevin Olekaibe long three point shot. The Lakers countered with five straight points taking a 106-105 lead on a Scott Machado three point shot with 1:44 to play. It was still a one point game with 55 seconds to play after Zubac and Thornton traded baskets. A huge block by Machado forced Canton to foul Travis Wear with 18.7 seconds to go. Wear split the pair giving South Bay a four point lead and putting the game away.
Marcus Thornton led the scoring for the Charge with 31 points on 7-11 from three. Ante Zizic had his best game for the Charge as he dropped 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. London Perrantes flirted with a triple/double putting up 10 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds. Canton ended the game shooting 47% from the floor and 39% from three point range. The loss drops the Charge to 7-10 on the season.
The Lakers were led by Ivica Zubac who had 28 point and nine rebounds. Zizic talked about his relationship with Zubac going back to their years growing up in Croatia.
“We are from the same generation and we played together on the same team. I have known him for like 10 years,” Zizic said. “I signed my first professional contract when I was 16 and he was already on that club so the last five to six years we played together.”
The Charge get right back to it on Saturday as they travel to Uniondale, NY for a 7:00 pm matchup with the Long Island Nets.