PAINSVILLE - Jerry Buccilla felt reasonably good at halftime of Tiffin's game at Lake Erie.
His star, Joe Graessle, had only three points and hadn't made a 3 all game.
But the Dragons led the Storm by four.
And Buccilla knew Graessle wouldn't finish with three points.
As it turned out, Graessle did get going. He finished with 19 points. But Lake Erie had no answer for Khaleal McCormick, who finished with 31 points, six rebounds and two steals in the Dragons' 81-74 win.
"Khaleal had a really special day and really worked hard," Buccilla said.
Tiffin snapped a four-game losing streak, and improved to 7-10, 3-9 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
"It was extremely important we stayed within the framework of the team and were patient," Buccilla said. "We executed well."
Buccilla said he was particularly happy with Graessle, who shook off a frustrating start.
Graessle had nine rebounds to go with his point total.
"He really got on the boards. He did that and showed calmness," Buccilla said. "Him and Ashton (Khan) really led us."
Khan finished with 16 points. He was only credited with two assists, but Buccilla said he thought his point guard had more.
"Ashton really attacked the rim at the right times," the coach said. "He didn't force anything tonight. He was able to get that signature left handed layup. It was one of his best overall floor games."
Garrick Sims had points and seven rebounds for Lake Erie, which slipped to 8-12, 5-8 in the GLIAC.
Trouble closing out halves hurts Dragons
PAINSVILLE - Pam Oswald said it's been anything but a high-five.
The Tiffin University women's basketball coach said her team is struggling in the first five minutes and the last five minutes of each half, and has been for much of the season.
It was an issue again Thursday night at Lake Erie, where the Dragons dropped a 63-59 decision to the Storm.
"We just are very undisciplined with our possessions," Oswald said. "It seems to elude us, winning the first five minutes and last five minutes of the half."
Still, the Dragons did have a chance to tie or take the lead in the final seconds of regulation.
Deidre McKay's layup in the final half minute cut Lake Erie's lead to 60-59. Then, after a foul, Daija Jones split a pair of free throws.
Bre Nauman grabbed the rebound for TU, but her 2-point attempt with the clock winding down missed. Lake Erie got the board, made its free throws, and got the victory.
"We had a couple shots we didn't get to fall," Oswald said.
McKay led the Dragons (5-11, 2-10 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference), with 14 points, while Katie Miller had 10 off the bench. Nauman added nine points and 10 rebounds.
Lake Erie's Jackie Murray had 14 points as the Storm improved to 8-11, 3-10.