KIRTLAND, Ohio – The Lakeland Community College men's basketball team was in action today in the championship game of the TJ Memorial basketball Classic as they defeated Mercyhurst Northeast, 73-70.
The Lakers opened the game by scoring the first two buckets of the game as Alonzo Hamilton (Edison, New Jersey / Linden) and Jeff Nevulis (Willowick, Ohio / Willoughby South) each made a jump shot for the Lakers. After the Lakers quick start the Saints mounted a 9-0 run and took a 9-4 advantage, before Jeramie Burge (Shaker Heights, Ohio / Shaker Heights) made a layup to halt the Saints run. The Saints to continue to play well and opened a 20-12 lead half way through the first half. The Lakers went on a 7-0 run to cut the Saints lead to 21-19. The run was highlighted by a three pointer from Nevulis. The Saints ended the half on a 10-2 run and took a 38-26 advantage into the intermission.
Lakeland was led by Nevulis as he had four points, four rebounds, and a block in the first half. Donald McCain (Euclid, Ohio / Lutheran East) led the Lakers in scoring in the half with seven points.
After Mercyhurst scored the first basket of the second half the Lakers started to mount their comeback. The Lakers rattled off a 7-0 run and cut the Saints lead to single digits. The run was highlighted by an alley-op from McCain to Larnell Nealy (Norton, Ohio / Copley). After the Saints scored back to back buckets the Lakers went on a quick 12-2 run sparked by a pair of jumpers from Calvin Giles (Cleveland, Ohio) to make the score 48-45 in favor of the Saints, with just under 11 minutes remaining in the game. The teams traded baskets for a while and the Lakers grabbed a quick lead before the Saints took the lead back with seven minutes remaining in the game. The game stayed close and was a one score game heading into the final 30 second of the game. With 20 second left in the game Burge hit a go ahead three pointer, to put the Lakers up 71-69. After the Saints split a pair of free throws Burge sealed the game with a pair of foul shots, and gave the Lakers a 73-70 win.
The Lakers were led by Giles as he had a double-double with 16 points and a game high 18 rebounds. Giles also had a big impact on defense as he had six blocks in the game. Burge had a game high 19 points, as well as five rebounds, and a pair of steals.
The Lakeland Community College men's basketball team will be back in action Thursday (Nov. 17) when they travel to take on Niagara Community College with the game set to tip off at 7:30 p.m.