It was one of those games that the Canton Charge somehow won in spite of themselves as they defeated the Tulsa 66ers 94-91 at home in overtime. The win maintains the Charge’s perfect home record (6-1 for the season with four home victories) while Tulsa drops to 1-7.
The first quarter was a portent of things to come with six lead changes and four ties. Tulsa managed to pull ahead thanks to 12-for-12 free throws but Canton stayed abreast by limiting their field shooting to 37% for 7-to-19. The first quarter buzzer sounded with a 27-22 posting in favor of Tulsa.
The second quarter saw Tulsa increase their lead to nine but with 7:01 left in the half, Canton put together a 17-7 run that included four Tulsa turnovers as the Charge squeaked to a one point lead of 47-46 at the half. The game continued its see-saw motion in the third with six more ties and one lead change. The 66ers Grant Jarrett led his team with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the third which gave Tulsa a 74-72 advantage going into the final round.
Canton came out swinging in the fourth and managed to pull ahead to 81-76 after a fast 9-2 start. Tulsa then locked up the basket at Canton’s end of the court and with an 8-0 run that had nine misses and two turnovers by the Charge swung into a lead of 84-81.
The Charge regrouped and with a series of stops and buckets of their own managed to tie the game 88-88 with Kevin Jones nailing a 19-footer with 1:12 left in the game. In spite of the 66ers having five consecutive possessions on offensive rebounds, the Charge fended off each attempt with strong defense and foul free playing.
The clock was set to 3:00 as the whistle bird tweeted against Tulsa allowing Canton to stand at the charity stripe six times and hitting four. On the other end of the court, Tulsa was limited to 1-of-4 as the Charge continued to play hard error free defense. This resulted in a lead of four points as the clock on the wall spelled zero and Canton walked away with a 94-91 victory.
Jones led Canton with 24 points, including 10-of-10 from the foul line, with nine rebounds in 43 minutes. In his first-ever NBA D-League game, Cavs assignee Sergey Karasev scored 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting with three rebounds in 30 minutes. Henry Sims added 12 points, nine rebounds, one block and one steal in 24 minutes.
Arinze Onuaku notched his second double-double in consecutive games off the bench with 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting with 12 rebounds and two blocks in 24 minutes. Jorge Gutierrez netted 10 points with four rebounds and six assists in 42 minutes. Carrick Felix added five points, five rebounds and three assists in 19 minutes.
The Charge will next host the Erie Bayhawks for a pair of East Division contests at the Canton Memorial Civic Center beginning Friday, December 13th at 7:00 p.m., with tickets starting as low as $7! Friday’s game will be Zombie Night, featuring a special performance from the Cleveland Cavaliers Scream Team alongside local dancers participating in their clinic earlier that day.
To purchase single game tickets or for all general ticket information, fans can call 1-866-444-1944 or visitwww.CantonCharge.com/tickets.
Head Coach Steve Hetzel
(On tonight's win in overtime):"I thought that it was a hard-fought game, I thought that Tulsa played very well. It was back-and-fourth in the first half; I thought our guys battled back. In crunch time of the game when we were down, I thought that our composure was at a high level, we got the defensive stops that we needed, we got the baskets that we needed, we made our free throws and we scratched and we clawed, but we came away with the win."
(On the importance of defense): "That's why we rely on our defense, we want to be a defensive team because the nights that the shots don't go in, you can always rely on getting stops. Your defense can always be there for you, and you can't make excuses for the circumstances or the elements. You have to play through it. "
(On today's assignments from the Cavaliers):"It's very challenging because you go to work with your players and you have your offense and defensive system in place, and when you add three guys on the fly, it's hard to pick up and go with the flow. That's the beauty of our team: we have a great group of guys that embraces (Felix, Karasev and Sims) right away and if we defend, we can get through the bumps of the continuity. We welcome them down here, that's what the D-League is. If the Cavs trust us with them, then we want to make sure we're giving them the best opportunity."
F Kevin Jones
(On his free throw shooting tonight): "I think that's the first time I haven't missed a free throw in a game. I've just been working on it. After practice, I've just been working on my shooting, trying to get better and the more I can hit free throws, the more I can help my team in late game situations."
(On his chances of getting a call-up to the NBA): "I feel I have a good shot. I've just got to keep on working. I've got to wait for the opportunity, and hopefully it'll be there. I've just got to do my part out there, do what I've got to do for my team to win and hopefully keep this team moving."