The Canton Charge started out the first three minutes of the game slow and ended up finishing the last three minutes of the game even slower as they dropped their fourth game in a row (third home game) in front of 2,510 faithful. The loss drops Canton to 8-4 while Reno climbs to 6-7.
In spite of not being able to score a basket in almost three minutes of the first quarter, the Charge managed to still be ahead by one at the buzzer as the score card read 18-17. The second quarter fared better as the Charge came up with a 12-3 run in the first four and a half with four takeovers to take a 30-20 lead. In all, Canton forced seven turnovers in the period for 12 points and went to the locker room with a comfortable 44-37 lead. Reno’s first half points were the lowest for an opponent this season.
The Bighorns came out shooting in the third hitting seven of their first eight shots for a 17-10 run that tied the game at 54 each. Canton tightened down to hold Reno to 2-of-9 shooting in the final 6:30 while on an 18-8 run to take the lead at 72-62. Kevin Jones was the hot hand with eleven of Canton’s twenty eight points that included making all the shots from five trips to the free-throw line.
It looked like smooth sailing for Canton as they scored on each of their first two possessions in the fourth quarter running up a 76-62 advantage but the game was far from over as Reno fought back with a 17-3 run of their own in just 6:03 to tie the game at 79-79. The run included four forced turnovers while limiting Canton to just 1-of-8 from the floor. The lead changed back and forth for a couple of baskets when suddenly the Bighorns found the secret defense strategy and held Canton to 1-of-10 in the final 3:43, closing the game with a 14-2 run
Overall, Reno outscored Canton 33-11 in the fourth thanks in part to hitting 11-of-22 field goal attempts and 4-of-8 from beyond the three-point line. Jones finished with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting with eight rebounds and two assists in 32 minutes. On assignment from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Sergey Karasev netted 12 points with four steals and two blocks in 35 minutes. Jorge Gutierrez scored 10 points with four rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks in 29 minutes. Bo Spencer added 11 points and six rebounds in 21 minutes of relief off the bench.
Seven players scored in double-digits for Reno, led by K.C. Rivers’s 17 points and six rebounds in 34 minutes. Mo Charlo supplied a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds with five assists in 39 minutes. Bryan Davis added 10 points, seven rebounds and two steals in 18 minutes. The Bighorns outrebounded the Charge 50-39 on the night.
Head Coach Steve Hetzel
(On tonight's game): "Once again, it's the same old story. We built the lead, can't hang on to the lead, can't match their aggressiveness when they amp their energy up and their defensive effort. We struggled to score and execute, and it was a very bad fourth quarter. Very bad display of poise and execution on our part, and until we figure it out, it could be the same result."
(On Sergey Karasev’s strong defensive effort): "It's hard any time someone comes down and joins a team. It's only the second time he's played with these guys, so his rhythm is thrown off a little bit. He's an athlete, he's got good size. I liked his aggressiveness defensively. I think the more time he gets with these guys, the better feel he'll have offensively."
(On tonight's fourth quarter): "I thought that we passed up some open looks. We attacked the basket, our guys had the attack mentality, but those shots just didn't fall and we just can't give it up that easily. On the defensive end when you're just not making shots, you've got to make up for it. Our goal is to give up no more than 23 in a quarter, and letting up 33, that's not where we want to be as a team."
The Charge are back at home hosting the Erie BayHawks on Sunday, December 29th, at 5:00 p.m., with tickets starting as low as $7! To purchase single game tickets or for all general ticket information, fans can call 1-866-444-1944 or visitwww.CantonCharge.com/tickets.