The Canton Charge (13-9) fell to the Westchester Knicks (8-13), 102-96, Saturday night in front of 3,525 fans at the Canton Memorial Civic Center.
Canton pulled ahead for a 27-23 advantage after the first thanks in part to staunch defense the forced six Westchester miscues that resulted in 10 points. The Charge worked the basketball around to assist on eight of their 11 first quarter field goals, with Arinze Onuaku accounting for eight points himself.
The Knicks caught fire on offense in the second, hitting 14-of-21 shots (67%) as a team fueled by Walker Russell’s 12 points in five minutes off the bench. Westchester made their move from the start, rolling off a 16-5 run in the opening 5:42 to pull ahead 39-31. Their offensive firepower allowed them to stay ahead for the remainder of the half, and the visitors lead 57-51 at intermission.
Westchester maintained their advantage for most of the third until the Charge knotted the game at 70-70 on a Chris Crawford triple with 4:32 left in the period. The two teams exchanges blows for five lead changes the rest of the way, with Canton eventually pulling ahead when Antoine Agudio hit a fadeaway three-pointer with 1.3 seconds left to put the hosts up 79-77 heading into the final frame.
The Knicks held the Charge to just 6-of-19 (32%) shooting in the fourth, which carried over to the free-throw line, with Canton converting on just 2-of-8 attempts (25%). Conversely, Westchester connected on 10-of-18 shots (56%) and held a multiple possession lead for the final 3:58 of the game. Darnell Jackson helped put the Charge away with eight points and four rebounds in the final period.
Onuaku lead the way for the Charge by posting his eighth-straight double-double of 24 points and 15 rebounds with three steals and two blocks in a workman-like 37 minutes of action. Guard Jorge Gutierrez-Cardenas posted a double-double of his own with 15 points and 11 assists to go along with seven boards and two steals in his home debut. Canton’s Antoine Agudio posted 20 points and five assists in 40 minutes. Crawford added 12 points and seven rebounds in 26 minutes off the bench.
Westchester’s Russell provided a punch off the bench with a team-high 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting in 27 minutes of action. Forward Orlando Sanchez posted a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds in 38 minutes. Marcus Ginyard finished with 17 points and seven rebounds for the visitors in blue and orange, while Jackson finished with 13 points and nine boards.