Basketball is a game of momentum swings and Wright State Lake used one at the end of each half along with lots of free throws to knock off Kent State Tuscarawas 95-81 in Founders Hall Gym on Saturday afternoon. A 7-0 run at the end of the opening stanza lifted the Lakers to a 45-39 lead at the break, and as close at the Golden Eagles got in the second half was one-point on two separate occasions early in the final frame of play---the last at 49-48 with 15:55 left.
The Navy and Gold took control of things early as they jumped out to an early 5-0 lead before the Green and Gold got on the board. Gunnar Tharp hit two of his six first half triples and Malik Campbell added another in the early going as the hosts leapt ahead 14-13 prompting an early Lakers timeout. After the short intermission, Tharp and Luke Butcher hit bookend threes with a Campbell steal and layup in the middle as the Golden Eagles ripped off eight straight points to take a 22-13 advantage.
The lead was extended to 27-18 before the visitors recovered and trimmed the lead to 27-25 with a 7-0 run of their own. The two teams traded baskets and the game was knotted at 30-30 before Campbell would go coast-to-coast with a driving layup after a steal, and Tharp would swish another three for 37-32 lead but the Lakers answered the bell once again. With 1:53 left, JaJuante Young would give the Eagles their last lead of the game 39-36 on a short jumper after receiving a nifty baseline pass from Tharp. However, they would not score again in first half as the Lakers scored seven-straight on two steals for runout layups and a three ball to take a six point into the locker room.
At the outset of the second half, Butcher and Drew Williams hit shots in the lane to cut the deficit to two (45-43), but two Lakers free throws gave them a four-point advantage before Tharp hit his final three of the game to get to within one at 47-46. Jacob Hicks would score twice from the lane in between two WSU Lake steals for layups to cut the lead to 53-50, before another 7-0 Laker run aided by five free throws made it a 10-point disadvantage.
Campbell would get baskets off of two steals in between more Laker free throws, but the lead grew to 74-65 with 6:42 left. Six more Laker free throws and three Golden Eagles turnovers would fuel a 10-0 WSU Lake run that led to an insurmountable 86-67 hole with under four minutes left in the game. Butcher would can four threes and spark an 8-0 run for KSU Tusc, but things would seemingly not get any closer and the deed was done at 95-81.
Wright State Lake would convert on a perfect 15/15 from the charity stripe with 11 of them coming down the home stretch. The Golden Eagles never got a chance at the foul line.
Tharp led the Golden Eagles with 25 points, Campbell added 19 and Butcher had 17 to go along with five assists for the game. Hicks grabbed six boards to lead the hosts.
The Golden Eagles get no rest as they travel to Cincinnati Clermont for a makeup game on Sunday at 3 p.m.