By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Toledo, OH---Joe Retic II scored 16 points in the second half to help the Express men's basketball team pull away and earn an 80-65 win over Columbus State Community College in the SHAC today.
Retic finished with a game-high 22 points, while adding four rebounds, three assists and two steals. He finished 7-for-15 overall from the field, 1-for-3 from 3-point range and a perfect 7-for-7 from the foul line. All of his free throws came in the second half.
The Express took an early 6-0 lead before Columbus State stormed back to take a 14-13 lead with 13:48 left in the half. Then, after the Cougars took a 16-13 lead, Andy Bachman's 3-pointer tied the game and started an 11-0 run for the Express that gave them a 24-16 lead with 10:10 left.
They stretched the lead to as many as nine (twice) before Columbus State cut their deficit to six at halftime.
The game remained close in the second half until Tony Boykins and Franklin Lindsey hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Express a 65-54 lead with 8:13 remaining. From there, the Express never let their lead fall below seven while leading by as many as 19 with 2:22 left.
Retic scored eight of the team's final nine points in the game's final 4:33. Those points came on a 3-pointer as the time was expiring, two free throws, and another free throw on a 3-point play that included a lay-in.
Retic just missed his season-high in points of 23, although he set season-highs in field goals made (7) and field goals attempted (15).
Aside from Retic, James Kelly posted his 13th double-double this season with 18 points, 11 rebounds, three steals and two blocks. He has a double-double in every OCCAC game this year.
Bachman was the third and final Express player in double figure scoring with 12 points. He added five rebounds, two steals, one block and one assist. For the game, he was 4-for-6 from the field, 3-for-5 from 3-point range and 1-for-2 from the foul line.
Keevin Tyus led the Cougars with team-highs in points (21) and rebounds (9), while adding four assists. Mohamed Conde added 18 points and Jorian Hudson had 16 points and a team-high five assists.
Overall, the Express shot 29-for-66 (43.9 percent) from the field, 7-for-13 from 3-point range and 15-for-23 from the foul line. Meanwhile, the Cougars finished 25-for-54 overall, 2-for-12 from 3-point range and 13-for-22 from the foul line.
The Express are now 16-7 overall and 5-1 in the OCCAC. They strengthened their hold on second place as third place Edison is 3-3. Lakeland, who defeated Edison by 19 today, remains in first place at 6-0.
Kelly now has 981 career points and 551 career rebounds. He is now 47 rebounds away from breaking Brian Williams' career record of 597 rebounds.
Retic is creeping closer to averaging 10 points per game. At 224 points in 23 games, his average is at 9.7, which makes him the team's second leading scorer behind Kelly (18.3 pts/game).
Kelly, Retic and the Express will host Cuyahoga Community College in the SHAC on Wednesday beginning at 7:30 p.m. The Challengers feature one of the nation's top scorer's in Josh Reagan.