By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
River Grove, IL---A fast break dunk by James Kelly had the No. 17 Express up 34-32 with just over a minute remaining in the first half, but a 31-5 run by Cincinnati State over the game's next seven minutes proved to be the difference in a 88-75 loss by the Express in the third/fourth place game of the Triton Tip Off Classic.
Down 24 at that point, the Express then rallied to cut the lead to as few as eight with 2:39 left. It wasn't enough, though, despite 25 points from Justin Edmonds.
It was the third straight game of 20 or more points for Edmonds to start the year. He finished 6-for-14 from the field and 12-for-15 from the foul line, while also adding a team-high three assist, two blocks and one steal.
Kelly, meanwhile, produced his third consecutive double-double for the Express with 16 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks, one assist and one steal. He finished 7-for-12 from the field and 2-for-2 from the foul line.
Overall, the Express finished 24-for-61 (39.3 percent) from the field overall, 5-for-22 (22.7 percent) from three point range and 22-for-27 (81.5 percent) from the foul line. Two key stats that heavily favored Cincinnati State and doomed the Express were offensive rebounds (24 to 14) and turnovers (19 to 27).
Dwayne Bazemore led Cincinnati State with 18 points and 15 rebounds, while O'Brien Hobbs had 18 points. Cody Martin added 14 points and 7 rebounds, and Mycle Shadie had 13 points, four rebounds and four steals.
The Express (1-2) will take on Lorain County Community College on Tuesday at home beginning at 7:30 p.m.