Pure Adrenalin! That is what the Canton Charge brought to the court in their second win of the season over the first place Iowa Charge. Both teams were evenly matched through the first half with Iowa taking a slight lead into the locker room. The third quarter was all defense with the Charge closing down Iowa’s end of the court.
One of the big differences was the attack mode that the Charge put on in not giving up on the shots. At times there were three or four attempts at a basket until they finally forced the shot in. This tenacity paid off in the closing stretch of the game as in the fourth quarter they pulled ahead for good.
It was an extremely physical game as bodies flew through the air and in some cases collided into each other and the floor. This is a team that is tough and willing to put their bodies on the line to win. The final score of 108 to 97 was testiment to that fact. This was Canton’s sixth win in their last seven games and improved their overall record to 19-17, while Iowa fell to 21-14.
After the Charge trailed by five entering the third quarter, they locked down defensively. Canton held Iowa to just 18-of-40 from the floor in the second half and forced 11 turnovers. After shooting 5-of-9 from the three-point line in the first half, Iowa was 0-for-6 in the second.
Canton also made some clutch plays on the offensive end on the floor in the late stretches of the game. Tyrell Biggs had four offensive rebounds with three put-back layups in the final four minutes of the third quarter to fuel an 11-4 Charge run. Biggs finished with 13 points and six rebounds in 19 minutes in his second game back from a toe injury. Antonio Graves also scored nine points on 4-of-6 shooting in the fourth to help Canton secure the victory.
Adidas Player of the Game Kyle Gibson poured in 21 points with six rebounds in 39 minutes for the Charge. Graves finished with a season-high 22 points with four assists in 36 minutes to lead the home team. T.J. Campbell provided 17 points with eight assists and six rebounds in 43 minutes from the point position.
Mike Efevberha had a game-high 30 points with 10 rebounds and nine turnovers in 37 minutes for the Energy. Patrick Ewing had 15 points and 10 rebounds in 31 minutes. Two nights after scoring 25 points, Ben Strong was held to just four points and seven rebounds with three blocks in 31 minutes at the center position. Nick Murphy had 15 points and one block in 30 minutes.
Dante Milligan posted his 11th double-double and his second in as many games with 12 points and 12 rebounds with one block in 31 minutes. Terrance Thomas provided a spark off the bench with eight points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals in 30 minutes. Just two nights after tying a season-high in turnovers, the Charge had just 10 to tie their season-low total in a game. Canton also had 18 second chance points off of their 14 offensive rebounds.
Canton will try to make it three straight over Iowa as the two teams will go at it again in Des Moines tomorrow evening at 5:00 p.m. The season series is now even at two wins apiece.
CANTON CHARGE POSTGAME QUOTES
Head Coach Alex Jensen
(Opening Statement): “It’s always hard to beat a team two times in a row, especially a first place team as good as Iowa. Our guys did a great job in the second half. We were losing the rebounding battle and they were shooting over 50 percent, but we still came out with the win. It is funny because last game, we won all the statistical categories, and this time we didn’t. That can be attributed to those little things we did at the end: T.J. (Campbell) got fouled and got three (points) and Tyrell (Biggs) came in the game and got some key offensive rebounds. It’s fun because it truly was a team effort where everyone made their own contributions throughout the game at different times.”
(On their defensive effort tonight): ”Kevin (Young) is a great coach and they are a good team and they have smart players. We knew that they were going to make changes and we prepared for the changes that they would make. In the first half, we were hesitant. In the second half, we were more aggressive. I told them to not worry about making a mistake and just be aggressive and deal with it.”
(On life without Manny Harris): “That is the hard thing and the beauty of the D-League. Kyle (Gibson) didn’t play one second for three games. I tell the guys all the time, ‘I don’t know when it is going to happen, but it’s going to happen.’ It can go one of two ways, and now he is starting. You have to be professional and ready. I have to give credit to all the guys. Travis (Franklin), Antonio (Graves), and Kyle have really been doing a great job.”
Guard Kyle Gibson
(On stepping up after Manny left): “It is a collective effort. Manny was averaging (over 20 points). We knew that there would be some big shoes to fill. Something that we discussed after the Bakersfield game was that our guards weren’t as aggressive, so we knew we had to pick it up. You have to keep your head into it and stay in the game. When your number is called, you have to be ready. While I was sitting out, I was making sure to work hard and keep working out and wait for my opportunity.”
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