The Charge (17-24) came into Friday’s night’s contest at the Canton Civic Center against the Grand Rapids Drive looking for their third straight win. The Drive (22-19) came in five games ahead of Canton in second place in the Central Division. The Charge put together probably their best defensive effort of the season in defeating the Drive 93-85.
Canton got off to a slow shooting start in the first quarter shooting only 32% (9/28) from the floor missing their first 3 shots. Grand Rapids jumped out to a five point lead at 13-8 with 6:18 to play in the first. Canton took their first lead on a Gerald Beverly bucket with 12 seconds to play in the first. They trailed 23-22 after one quarter.
Grand Rapids started strong in the second building a six point lead. Former Houston Rocket K.J. McDaniels was big off the bench for the Drive in the quarter as he tallied eight points to add to his team high 10 at the half. Canton trailed 36-33 with six minutes to play in the half when they hit three straight triples to take their biggest lead of the game at 42-36. Grand Rapids closed out the half scoring the the final four points as the Charge took a 42-40 lead into halftime. John Holland led Canton with 10 points.
The third quarter has been an issue so many times this season for the Charge. Tonight they were able to build a lead in the third an sustain it. Canton only turned the ball over one time in the third quarter as Marcus Thornton and Ante Zizic led a balanced scoring attack helping the Charge build a nine point lead at 73-64 heading into the fourth quarter. The duo scored eight points a piece in the quarter. Thornton had a game high 16 points after three.
Grand Rapids came out strong in the fourth as they they opened the quarter on a 7-1 run cutting Canton’s lead to 74-71 four minutes in. The Charge were able to kick the lead back out to seven before Grand Rapids pulled to within two at 82-80 with 3:16 to play in the game. Out of a timeout the Ante Zizic scored on consecutive buckets and a John Holland three with 33 seconds to play put the Charge up 89-83 and pretty much sealed the victory. Grand Rapids was then forced to foul and Canton converted their final four free throws completing the 93-85 victory. Coach Reinking talked about the recent stretch of winning five of six and what they have done well to turn it around.
“If you look back at the majority of our games we have been right there all season,” said Reinking. “We’ve had this same lineup since February with Grant and Rosie along with Z, London and John here we’ve been able to build some consistent chemistry.”
John Holland also shared his thoughts on the turnaround.
“We have some of the best talent in the league and we all have different tools we can use to impact the game,” said Holland. “We are a dangerous team when we play together.”
The Charge held Grand Rapids to 36% from the floor including 31% from three while forcing 14 turnovers. It was perhaps their best defensive effort as the 85 points allowed was the lowest they have allowed this season.
Ante Zizic had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Charge. Marcus Thornton also chipped in 18. London Perrantes had 15 points and seven assists.
K.J. McDaniels led the Drive with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Derek Willis and Landry Nnoko each chipped in 14 points a piece.
The Charge host then Delaware 87ers (12-29) tomorrow night at the Civic Center.