CANTON, OH – The Canton Charge (12-21), powered by the Cleveland Cavaliers, fell to the Grand Rapids Drive (16-18), 119-109 Wednesday evening at the Canton Memorial Civic Center. The Drive have taken the first three of the four-game season series, with the final matchup slated for March 22nd in Grand Rapids.
The Charge opened the game cold from the field, missing 8-of-10 field goals to start. Grand Rapids Drive guard Michael Bethea Jr. scored nine points on 3-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc in the first quarter to help give the visitors a 31-18 lead after one. Canton couldn’t shake its recent offensive struggles in the early going, shooting 32% from the field in the first on 7-of-22 shooting. Entering the night 6th in the NBA G League in 3FG%, Levi Randolph hit pay dirt from deep twice in the first quarter giving him six points in the early going.
Fresh off of his 10-day contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Charge guard Kobi Simmons scored all 10 of his first half points in the second quarter as the Charge carved into the Grand Rapids lead. Trailing by as many as 15, another Randolph three-pointer with 29 seconds remaining in the half cut the Drive lead to 53-48 entering the break. Randolph led all scorers in the first half with 13 points. Detroit Pistons’ 2-Way guard Kalin Lucas had 12 to lead the Drive.
Lucas tacked on seven more points in the third quarter to give him 19 points as the Drive pushed their lead out to as many as 16 on three different occasions in the period. Grand Rapids shot a scorching 60% from the field while holding Canton to 34%, outscoring the Charge 33-23 in the stanza.
The Charge opened the fourth quarter on a modest 6-2 run before Zach Lofton drilled a three pointer out of a Drive timeout to push the lead back to 15. A Deng Adel reverse layup spurred a 7-0 run at that cut the Drive’s lead to 111-101 with 3:46 remaining. Following a Drive timeout, Detroit Pistons’ Two-Way guard Isaiah Whitehead stopped the run with a 24 footer to extend the Drive lead to 14. Despite multiple highlight reel plays from Cavaliers 2-Way forward Deng Adel in the waning moments, the Drive held on for the 119-109 win.
The Charge tied a franchise record with 35 assists. Randolph led all scorers with 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting including 6-of-8 from three. His six made three-pointers tied a season-high set on January 19th vs. Maine. Simmons added 24 points and five assists in 32 minutes of action. Adel finished with 13 points and seven rebounds in his third game with the Charge, who are now on the losing end of six straight games.
Lucas led the Drive with 20 points in 28 minutes. Johnny Hamilton recorded a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Whitehead finished with 19 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Drive. The Drive seek their fourth consecutive win at home on February 8th with a divisional showdown with the Wisconsin Herd.
The Charge hit the road for a two-game road trip starting with a visit to Westchester to take on the Knicks on February 8th at 7:00 PM (TV: Facebook Live; Radio: 99.7 FM)! . For Charge Nation Memberships, group outings, game day promotions and up-to-date information, head to CantonCharge.com or call 866-444-1944. The Canton Charge are part of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena organization and are also owned by a group led by Cavaliers Chairman and Quicken Loans Founder and Chairman Dan Gilbert. The group also owns and operates the Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League, who play their games at Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland.
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. Fans can download the new Canton Charge App on their smartphone via the iTunes Store or Google Play Store.