TOLEDO - The Express men's basketball team blew a 68-63 second half lead in a 90-82 loss to Cincinnati State Technical and Community College in the SHAC today.
With the loss, the Express fall out of a tie for first place with Lakeland. They remain in sole possession of second place, though.
After taking a 40-38 lead into halftime, the Express saw their lead disappear as Cincinnati State led by as many as five points throughout the first 10 minutes of the second half. Then, thanks to two huge dunks from James Kelly, the Express took a 68-63 lead with 6:17 left.
Cincinnati State, however, closed the game on a 27-14 run to knock off the Express.
The Surge had led 78-70 with 3:17 left before the Express almost came back. Andy Bachman hit a 3-pointer, Tony Boykins converted an offensive rebound into a lay-up and Joe Retic II hit a 3-pointer from straightaway to make it 80-78 Cincinnati State with 2:09 left.
Winston Grays then delivered a big 3-pointer for the Surge from the corner to give his team an 83-78 lead with 1:39 left. After two free throws from Kelly cut the Express deficit back to three, Cincinnati State got back-to-back lay-ups from Chrisean Marsden and Grays to take an 87-80 lead with 28 seconds left.
Kelly converted a lay-up off an offensive rebound with five seconds left, but it wasn't nearly enough.
Retic was the high scorer for the Express with 19 points, five assists and two steals. Meanwhile, Bachman came up big for the Express from 3-point range as he finished with 18 points and five rebounds.
Kelly added 18 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, one block and one steals. He now has a double-double in nine of the 10 OCCAC games.
Jay Marquette added team-highs in assists (6) and blocks (4). Franklin Lindsey was the fourth Express player in double-figures with 12 points.
Bachman's 18 points came off the bench.
Grays led the Surge with 22 points and nine rebounds despite a team-high six turnovers.
Thomas Jackson, a key figure today for the Surge, added 18 points, a team-high eight assists, a team-high three steals and four rebounds. He did not play in the previous meeting between the two teams.
Jackson, perhaps, made the game's biggest play. With the Express down 80-78, Retic had the ball and attempted a 3-pointer when Jackson blocked the shot from behind - leading to the 3-pointer by Grays.
O'Brien Hobbs added 15 points, while Devonte Smith had 11 for the Surge. Chrisean Marsden had a team-high nine rebounds.
A key factor in today's game was paint production. The Surge outscored the Express 52-26 in points in the paint, and 27-11 in second chance points. They also held a 27-20 advantage in points off turnovers and bench points (26-21).