CANTON – The Canton Charge (13-20), powered by the Cleveland Cavaliers, defeated the Eastern Conference leading Westchester Knicks (24-13), 99-91 in front of 3,204 fans at the Canton Memorial Civic Center on Saturday night.
The Charge jumped out to an early 12-2 lead, connecting on four three-pointers in the first four minutes of the first quarter. Playing on the second night of a back-to-back, the Knicks got out to a slow start from the field, missing six of their first seven shots. A Marcus Thornton three pointer gave the Charge a 3-2 lead that the home team would never relinquish. The Charge would push its lead to as many as 11, leading 26-16 after one period of play.
The Charge maintained in control for the remainder of the half, limiting the Knicks to 39% shooting, a season best for the Wine & Gold. Three Charge players registered in double-figures in the first 24 minutes, with Cavaliers assignee Ante Zizic just missing out on a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.
An Isaac Hamilton layup with 2:52 remaining in the third quarter pushed the Charge lead to 18, the largest of the evening. The Knicks rallied late, forcing eight Charge turnovers in the fourth quarter that helped cut the lead to 97-91 with 41.7 seconds remaining. Two Thornton free throws with 37.6 seconds and a defensive stop sealed the game at 99-91.
Zizic posted his third double-double of the season, scoring 21 points and grabbing a season-high 17 rebounds in 38 minutes. Zizic matched a season-high with five assists. Thornton equaled Zizic with 21 points that included 5-of-8 from three point range. London Perrantes posted a balanced stat sheet, scoring nine points, while hauling in eight rebounds and handing out six assists. On assignment from the Portland Trail Blazers, forward Caleb Swanigan netted 18 points.
The Knicks were paced by reserve guard Billy Garrett’s 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting in 34 minutes of action. After leaving the game momentarily in the second quarter with a facial laceration, Xavier Rathan-Mayes finished with 18 points, six rebounds and four assists in 29 minutes. Starting forwards Nigel Hayes and Isaiah Hicks scored 15 points apiece.