By Chris Schmidbauer, Sports Information Director
After their big upset win over previously unbeaten and #1 ranked Cuyahoga CC, the Owens Express hit the road for another big matchup in the OCCAC when they traveled to Lorain County to take on the Commodores.
Coming into the game, Lorain County was 18-2 and 8-1 in the conference, and it was clear the game was going to be another stiff test for the upstart Express.
The Express got off to a fast start in the first half. With the game tied at seven with 16:20 to play in the game's opening twenty minutes, Owens would go on a 14-2 run, capped off by a Jamiri Bennett three to take a 21-9 lead. The Commodores would fight back though, cutting the Owens lead to four at 32-28 with 4:30 to play in the half. The Express would go on another run to close the half, taking a 13 point lead at 45-32 at the break.
Owens would push their lead further, going up by as many as 27 points with 12:04 to play in the game after Davion Baker hit a three to make the score 66-39. The Express would keep their lead above 20 points until the 9:11 mark of the second half, when the Commodores Kevin Kelley make a layup to cut the lead to 18.
From that point on, Lorain County would make a furious comeback. The Commodores would close the game on a 26-12 run to pull within three points after a pair of Justis Craig free throws made the score 76-73.
Jamiri Bennett would make three out of four free throws over the game's final 17 seconds to hold off the Commodores comeback and help the Express seal their seventh win in a row at 79-75.
Neither team shot exceptionally well from the floor. Owens shot 36% (22-62) from the field while Lorain County finished shooting 33% (29-89) from the field.
Gabe Simpson led all scorers in the game, finishing with 22 points on 8-16 shooting in 32 minutes of play. The Warren, OH native also had five rebounds and three assists. Marquevious Wilson scored 15 points in the game, and he also had nine rebounds in the game, one shy of a double-double. Jamiri Bennett finished with 11 points, and Rylan Davis scored 10 points and had six boards.
In his second start of the season, Justin Sylver was the game's leading rebounder with 11 caroms on the afternoon.
As mentioned, Owens has now won seven games in a row, which is the longest win streak of the season. The streak started back on January 10 after a 89-63 at Sinclair. The Express are averaging 87 points per game during their win streak with an average margin of victory at 12 points.
Owens moves to 14-7 overall and they are now 8-2 in the OCCAC. The win ties them for second place in the conference with Lorain County, who is now 18-3 and 8-2 in the conference too. They both trail Cuyahoga by a half game in the conference standings. Owens was able to avenge an earlier 105-93 loss from back on November 16.
The Express will go for eight wins in a row this coming Wednesday at home against Sinclair. The Tartan Pride are 12-11 overall and 3-7 in the OCCAC.