LEC Rally Finishes HC Cagers

Release Date:
February 23, 2007
The Office of Sports Information
(716) 649-7900 ext. 333

PAINESVILLE, OH – Top seed Lake Erie College hung on for an 80-67 win over number four seed Hilbert College in the semifinals of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) men’s basketball tournament. The host Storm has now won 27 of 28 games played at the Athletic Center Arena and will face number two seed Penn State Behrend (19-6) in Saturday’s championship game.

Friday night, Lake Erie (24-2) jumped out to a commanding 12-3 lead courtesy of four three-pointers, three consecutive from guard Robert Williams. The visiting Hawks would not cave and responded with a 9-0 run of their own to knot the score at 12-12 with 13:42 to play in the opening half. The Storm would twice hold 13-point leads before the Hawks would get within five on a Glen Ufland (Buffalo, NY/Bishop Timon) three-pointer to cut the lead to 33-28 after almost 19 minutes of action. Williams would add another trey, and Derrick Thorton’s layup beat the half-time buzzer to give the Storm a 38-28 advantage at the break.

In the second stanza the Hawks rallied from 12 down and a Tyler Blanar (Eden, NY/Eden) layup at 14:39 tied the score at 46-46.

“It took us a little while to settle down. We were much more relaxed and played more confident in the second half,” said Hilbert coach Rob deGrandpre.

A Dallas Reinard (Smethport, PA/Smethport) three-pointer followed by a pair of free throws gave the visitor’s their first lead at 60-56 with 8:48 remaining in regulation. The upset bid was short lived, as the Storm would regain control with 14 unanswered points over the next 3:13 to go up 70-60. A Reinard jumper at 2:33 trimmed the score to 74-67, but the Hawks wouldn’t score again.

“We kind of got away from executing when we really needed some positive possessions late in the game,” commented deGrandpre. “Give them (Lake Erie) credit, they played well and capitalized on some of our mistakes at critical moments of the game.”

Lake Erie connected on 20 of 31 free throw attempts while Hilbert converted just four of 11 from the charity stripe. The hosts buried seven of 11 three-pointers in the first half but connected on just one of 10 after intermission. The Hawks drained 13 of 30 three pointers on the night, but were heavily out rebounded 52-35.

Lake Erie, the AMCC regular season champs were paced by Thorton’s 24 points and game-high 11 rebounds. Williams finished with 22 points and six assists while 6’6 center Jajcen Harris added 14 points and eight boards.

The Hawks received scoring contributions from nine different players and were led by Ufland’s 28 points, including an eight of 14 shooting performance from beyond the arc. Reinard finished with 20 markers and point guard Mike Reyes (Buffalo, NY/Bishop Timon) dished out nine assists.

Hilbert (14-13) will await word on the possibility of an invitation to the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) tournament, which starts on February 28th.

Hilbert College, located in suburban Hamburg, N.Y., south of Buffalo, is a private four-year college founded in 1957 in the Catholic Franciscan tradition. With nearly 1,100 students, Hilbert is a dynamic Western New York college that offers career-focused majors, including one of the top criminal justice programs in the region, and more than 50 minors and concentrations. The college’s engaging, student-centered campus community offers numerous leadership, internship, and service learning opportunities from which students launch successful careers while making positive changes in their communities. The Hilbert Blueprint promotes a well-rounded student experience over four years – starting with the Foundations Seminar in the freshman year, followed by Sophomore Service, Junior Symposium, and culminating with the Senior Capstone. Hilbert has expanded its academic offerings with the college’s first graduate programs and new Accelerated Degree Programs geared to adult learners.