CANTON, OH – The Canton Charge (7-11), powered by the Cleveland Cavaliers, fell to the Grand Rapids Drive (8-12), 122-117 Saturday night at the Canton Memorial Civic Center. The loss extends Canton’s losing streak to five.
The Drive opened the first quarter on a 13-3 run over the first 4:61 of play. Leading by as many as 10 on two occasions, the Charge clawed back to cut the lead to 31-25 behind Sir’Dominic Pointer’s 11 points, including a perfect 3-for-3 from three point distance.
Pointer’s stellar play continued into the second quarter, tacking on seven more points to set a career-high in points with 18, eclipsing his 17 on 2/9/16 versus the Drive. Pointer finished the first half with 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting, including a career-high in three pointers made with four makes on four attempts. Charge reserve guard Isaac Hamilton chipped in with nine points in the second stanza, with the Charge shooting a blistering 61% from the field. Drive guard Speedy Smith connected from deep with a three pointer with 0.7 remaining before the half, and the hosts took a 61-59 lead into the break.
The Charge and Drive exchanged blows during the third quarter, with eight lead changes and four ties in the 12 minutes of play. Charge guard Levi Randolph heated up, connecting on four-of-five shots for nine points in the third. Drive guard Keenan Evans countered with nine points of his own, and the two teams entered the fourth quarter in a dogfight with the Charge leading 89-87.
A Kobi Simmons three pointer with 6:35 remaining pushed the Charge lead to seven at 105-98. Evans responded with a three pointer and scored nine of his 11 fourth quarter points in the last six minutes of play. Trailing 115-116, Randolph was fouled as he laid it in off the glass, but missed the succeeding free throw to keep the Charge lead at 117-116. Following an immediate Drive timeout, Speedy Smith responded with a contested layup to regain the lead at 118-117. Following a Charge miss, Smith connected on two free throws to extend the lead to 120-117. Coming out of a Charge timeout, Scoochie Smith was unable to find an open teammate and was called for a five-second violation. The Drive’s Marcus Thornton then sealed the game with two makes at the charity stripe and the Drive escaped with a 122-117 victory.
Randolph finished with a season-high 27 points on 12-of-18 shooting in 33 minutes of action. Pointer finished with a career-high 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting while connecting on 4-of-5 from three point distance. Pointer also added four steals in 30 minutes. Forward Bonzie Colson chipped in with 17 points and seven rebounds. The Charge shot 57% from three, connecting on 17-of-30 attempts.
Evans, a 2-Way guard for the Detroit Pistons, lead all scorers with 30 points for the Drive on 10-of-19 shooting in 38 minutes. Smith produced a double-double with 21 points and 10 assists in 39 minutes. His six steals tied a franchise record. Johnny Hamilton provided an offensive spark for the Drive with 27 points and seven rebounds.
The Charge head out for Oklahoma City this Saturday night for a bout with the Oklahoma City Blue, before returning home for another Dollar Dog Night presented by Sugardale on Friday, January 4th at 7:00 p.m. versus the Capital City Go-Go (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.