By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Toledo, Ohio---The No. 8 Owens Community College men's basketball team routed Kellogg Community College 93-62 in the Owens Tip Off Classic semfinals at the Student Health and Activities Center (SHAC) tonight.
Five players notched double figures as the Express produced 20 fewer turnovers and drastically out-shot the Bruins at the foul line to produce the win. The Express only turned the ball over seven times, compared to 27 for the Bruins. Additionally, the Express finished 15-for-19 from the foul line compared to 17-for-39 (43.6 percent) for the Bruins.
The only lead of the game for the Bruins came on the game's opening basket by Joe Glover. Kenny Jones (Clay/South Bend, Ind.) responded with a fast break lay-up off a steal and assist by Darren Groves (Thurgood Marshall/Dayton, Ohio). Groves hit one of two at the foul line three possessions laster, followed by back-to-back baskets by John Murry (North Central/Indianapolis, Ind.) to get the Express off and running.
The Bruins hung around a 10 point deficit for the first 10 minutes of the game. However, following a free throw from Glover that pulled his team within nine at 25-16 with 10:31 left, the Express scored on four straight possessions to push the lead to 17 and force a Bruin timeout.
Edmond Early Jr. (Thurgood Marshall/Dayton, Ohio) scored on three straight possessions late in the half to give the Express a 47-24 lead before they eventually took a 51-28 lead into the break.
The second half played out in a long way as both teams combined for 33 free throw attempts. Owens finished 8-for-10 in the half, while Kellogg was 10-for-23.
Pete Firlik (Catholic Central/Grand Rapids, Mich.) had a team-high 11 points in the second half, while Cameron White (Bowsher/Toledo, Ohio) added 10 in the final 20. The Express led by as many as 34 with 1:05 left in the game.
Overall, Early Jr. led the Express with 17 points, five assists and four steals - all team-highs. Jones and Firlik each added 15 points. Groves had a team-high nine rebounds along with seven points, four assists, two blocks and one steal. White totaled 12, and Shaakir Lindsey (Teaneck/Teaneck, N.J.) was the fifth player in double figures with 10 points, along with three assists and two steals.
After missing the season-opener, Justin Baker (Cathedral/Indianapolis, Ind.) made his collegiate debut today. He finished with two points and two steals. On the flip side, Nate Harris (Central Catholic/Toledo, Ohio) missed today's game after playing in the season opener.
Owens is now 2-0 heading into tomorrow's Tip Off Classic championship game against Schoolcraft College at 8 p.m. in the SHAC. Schoolcraft had their way with Jamestown Community College in the other semifinal tonight.