Pair of Cavs assignments lead charge to win
Propelled by Arinze Onuaku and Sergey Karasev’s monster performances on assignment from the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Canton Charge topped the Springfield Armor, 118-110, in front of 2,802 at the Memorial Civic Center on Saturday afternoon. The win improves Canton to 24-15 this season, while Springfield dropped to 16-23.
The Charge led for the entire first quarter and by as many as 10, as they got off to a hot start offensively by hitting 11-of-17 shots as a team (65%) to go up 30-28. The second quarter featured a more back-and-forth defense pace with 11 lead changes and both teams hitting less than 40% of attempts from the field. The Armor edged ahead on the final lead change of the half when Darius Johnson-Odom hit a 20-footer with 3.8 seconds left to give the visitors a 49-48 advantage at intermission.
The two teams went back-and-forth again to begin the third, trading buckets throughout the first couple minutes for three ties and two more lead changes. With the game knotted at 53-53, Canton went on a 12-1 run over a span of 2:39 for their largest lead of the game at 65-54. Canton scored 35 points in the third on 12-of-15 shooting as a team (80%) and used their offensive barrage to pull ahead 83-74 heading into the final frame.
Their continued offensive assault allowed the Charge to remain ahead the rest of the way and by as many as 16 points to give them a 5-2 lead in the season series with the East Division Armor. Canton hit 23-of-34 shots as a team (74%) for a season-best 70 points in a half. The Charge finished shooting 60.9% from the floor in the game, just below the franchise record of 61% set in a win over Fort Wayne on January 22.
Onuaku notched his 13th double-double of the season with 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting, 15 rebounds and two blocks in 32 minutes. Karasev totaled new season-highs in points and rebounds with 21 and eight respectively in 42 minutes. Shane Edwards netted a team-high 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting with seven rebounds in 38 minutes. In his first-ever start, Will Cherry added 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting with four steals in 26 minutes for the Charge.
Springfield was led by Devin Ebanks’ game-high 28 points on 10-of-18 shooting with two steals in 39 minutes. Willie Reed posted a double-double of 21 points and 13 boards with two blocks in 39 minutes. Khalif Wyatt provided 17 points in 13 minutes of relief off the bench.
HEAD COACH STEVE HETZEL
(On Arinze Onuaku’s play today on assignment): "We love having him. He was dominant inside like we expect and have seen all year. I think he was happy to be with us because of the minutes he was getting. Plus, this is a true team. These guys care for one-another, so they are happy when he comes back."
(On dealing with a constantly changing roster): "It’s always difficult. Number one, you are proud of your players for moving on and forward because that’s what this league is about. So, you are first off happy for them. That’s what we want as a coaching staff, that’s what we want as a team is for our guys to move forward and we want our success to help them move forward. We started the season and said that we would embrace change, so when change occurs we just step right on the floor and we go with what we got."
G/F SERGEY KARASEV
(On what he is improving on while in Canton): "Becoming a better ball handler, that’s what I showed today. I was aggressive with the ball and tried to facilitate my teammates. Also, getting bigger and getting stronger, so as a result I had eight rebounds today. I hope, soon, you are going to see my first double-double."
Canton is back at the Memorial Civic Center tomorrow afternoon, March 9 at 3:00 p.m. to take on the Sioux Falls Skyforce. It’s the Mascot Showdown, with appearances by mascots from all over Northeast Ohio, a poster & window cling giveaway courtesy of Ollie’s Bargain Outlet plus dollar dogs presented by Sugardale all starting at just $7! For game day promotions and links to live stats and YouTube game streams, head to www.CantonCharge.com.
Fans can stay up-to-date on team news by following the team at: @CantonCharge on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CantonCharge and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CantonCharge.