With two minutes to go in the second quarter the Canton Charge had a 53-41 lead.
Then at the buzzer, Dionte Christmas hit a three-ball to make it a five-point game at the half (53-48).
That shot changed the momentum of the game. The Charge (6-8) were outscored 37-20 in the third quarter on the way to dropping the game 114-107 to the Delaware 87ers.
“That was where we lost the game. We had a 12-point lead down to five-points, gave the ball away. That was, the game for me right there it carried into the third,” head coach Nate Reinking said. “I was hoping they would come out with a little more fire [but] we just didn’t do it and we lost the quarter 37-20 and it was just a carryover from there.”
The 87ers (7-6) went on a 25-6 run during the first six minutes of the third quarter and took a 63-59 lead. The 87ers tripled that lead to close out the quarter thanks to another buzzer beater. This time Sheldon McClellan beat the horn to make it an 85-73 ball game.
The lead increased to as much as 14 in the fourth quarter. But the Charge did not give up. They fought and cut the lead to four (97-93) after a pair of free throws by Chris Evans. John Holland got a steal but in transition Quinn Cook turned the ball over and the 87ers came down and got a layup to make it a 99-93 contest with three minutes to go.
The Charge did not give up and cut it to five, 107-102 with 49 seconds remaining. But they could not get any closer.
“Just not being locked in with the details from the coaches. We have to be locked in for a full 48 minutes or we aren’t going to win games,” Jones said of the teams defensive struggled in the third quarter.
Roosevelt Jones had his best game of the season. Jones registered career highs in both points and rebounds with 15 points and 12 rebounds. All five starters scored in double figures for the Charge. Cook led all players with 27, Evans had 19, Holland had 18, and Eric Moreland added 15 and Michael Dunigan chipped in 11.
“Our offense is always going to be there. We have many scorers like Quinn, E, Mike Dunigan, and J.J. like we got scorers but it only matters about the defensive end. If we don’t get stops we aren’t going to win many games,” Jones said.
The 87ers started strong and led 9-2 after just two minutes and 30 seconds. But a 21-13 run gave Canton a 23-22 lead. Moreland missed a pair of free throws with .2 seconds remaining but Dunigan tipped the second one in to give Canton a 30-26 lead after one quarter.
Canton outscored the 87ers 25-15 throughout the second quarter to lead 53-41 with 2:02 remaining. But after that it was all Delaware.
James Webb III led the 87ers with 22 points. David Laury III had 18. Three players, Shawn Long, Brandon Triche and Christmas had 16 points.
The Charge have a full week off before they are back in action. On Friday, Dec 23, the Charge take on the Windy City Bulls, at home. Tipoff is set for 7p.m.