By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Toledo, Ohio---Justin Baker (Cathedral/Indianapolis, Ind.) scored a season-high 20 points to lead the No. 14 Owens Community College men's basketball team past Columbus State Community College 103-77 in the Student Health and Activities Center (SHAC) tonight.
Columbus State jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the first couple minutes. Owens responded with an 8-0 run to take the lead back, but Columbus State bounced back to take a 16-13 lead with 14:05 left.
At that point, however, Owens went on a 23-2 run over the next four minutes to take control of the game. During that stretch, Owens shot 10-for-13 from the field.
Columbus State pulled within as few as 10 before the end of the half, but Owens took a 55-41 lead into the break.
In the second half, Owens opened play on a 18-5 run and held a 27 point lead with 13:55 left. Eventually, they pushed the lead to as many as 36 late in the game.
Defensively, Owens held Columbus State's leading scorer, Matthew Rhodes, to only six points on 2-for-11 shooting. His teammate, Carlton Crowder, came off the bench for a team-high 17 points along with nine rebounds. Bryan Porter and Jarel Woolridge each added 10 points.
For Owens, Baker totaled his 20 points on 7-for-9 shooting from the field (2-for-4 from 3-point range) and a 4-for-5 finish from the foul line. He added four assists and only one turnover, and he did all that in just 17 minutes of play.
Aside from Baker, Darren Groves (Thurgood Marshall/Dayton, Ohio) and Shaakir Lindsey (Teaneck/Teaneck, N.J.) combined for 29 points off the bench. Groves had 16 points and nine rebounds, while Lindsey had 13 points and four assists.
Others in double figures for Owens were John Murry (North Central/Indianapolis, Ind.) with 13, along with six rebounds, and Kenny Jones (Clay/South Bend, Ind.), who had 12 points, six rebounds and three blocks.
Another notable performance came from Edmond Early Jr. (Thurgood Marshall/Dayton, Ohio). While only totaling three points on 1-for-4 shooting, the sophomore guard dished out a team-high seven assists and added three blocks. Cameron White (Bowsher/Toledo, Ohio) had a team-high three steals, and Austin Somerfield (Greenville/Greenville, Mich.) had a game-high 10 rebounds.
As a team, Owens finished 43-for-80 (53.8 percent) from the field despite an 8-for-27 (29.6 percent) finish from 3-point range. They out-rebounded Columbus State 48-36 and held a 64-36 advantage in points in the paint.
With the win, Owens moved one win away from clinching a second straight OCCAC championship. Should they defeat No. 12 Cincinnati State at 3 p.m. on Saturday, they would clinch at least a share of the title. Lakeland Community College, who is tied with Owens and Cincinnati State at 11-2 atop the conference, will take on Columbus State Saturday in their effort for a share of the title.
Owens is now 23-6 overall and 11-2 in OCCAC play, while Columbus State falls to 8-18 overall and 3-10 in OCCAC play.
Tonight's game marked the fifth straight and 15th game overall this year that Owens has reached the century mark. They are averaging 99.5 points per game in conference play and 97.3 overall this year.