By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Kirtland, OH---Charles Oliver's 24 points led six players in double figures as the nationally-ranked Lakeland men's basketball team cruised past visiting Tri-C in the final home game of the regular season Wednesday night.
The Lakers move to 21-5 overall (9-1 OCCAC) and are just one win away from clinching at least a share of the conference championship for the first time since 1995.
Lakeland can win the conference outright by closing out the season with two straight victories but will have to go on the road at Edison (Feb. 23) and Sinclair (March 2) in order to do it.
Oliver finished 10 of 14 from the floor and did most of his damage in the first half, scoring 18 points over the opening 20 minutes of play. Chaz Rollins and Daishon Robinson provided a spark off the bench, finishing with 18 and 11 points, respectively.
Richard Smith nearly posted another triple-double, finishing a block shy on the night. The sophomore forward scored 14 points, pulled in 11 rebounds, and denied nine shots to help Lakeland to a 48-36 advantage on the glass. Classmate Martell Medley added 13 points and dished out nine assists while Deran Banton scored 16.
Prior to tip-off Lakeland's nine sophomores were recognized for their hard work in the classroom and on the court. This year's class has posted a 48-14 record to date and has a chance to graduate with the most wins in the 43-year history of Lakeland basketball.
The Lakers take on Edison at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.