The St. Louis RiverSharks took their undefeated record on the road for two games this weekend. Saturday, the RiverSharks spoiled the Chicago Force’s home opener, but a day later couldn’t do the same to the Champaign Swarm. Guard Brandon Hogg played hero, leading the team in scoring in both contests.
St. Louis RiverSharks 111, Chicago Force 100
The RiverSharks pushed their record to 3-0 by going into the Kroc Center on Saturday and forcing the Force into 21 turnovers with 10 coming from RiverSharks steals. St. Louis sealed the game with a 15-2 run.
Hogg led the Riversharks attack with 36 points, 26 of which came in the second half. Terry Leak contributed 20 of his own and grabbed 8 rebounds. Terry Evans notched his second consecutive double-double with 17 points and 10 boards.
On the other side, Derrick McDonald was the Force high scorer with 26 points. Antoine Ware led Chicago to a 49-35 rebounding advantage. However, neither an advantage on the glass or shooting—57% to 53% — could overcome the astronomical number of turnovers.
The second straight game of shooting poorly from three also didn’t help matters, as the force mustered just 22% from deep.
Champaign Swarm 113, St. Louis RiverSharks 100
The RiverSharks were handed their first loss of the season at the hands of the Champaign Swarm. The Swarm were playing their home opener in Parkland College’s gym. It was definitely an interesting environment with the relatively full stands being treated to the sounds of a pep band throughout the game.
Where their fellow St. Louis Squad was doomed by their first quarter performance, the RiverSharks fell prey to a 38-19 second quarter. The Swarm opened the quarter on a 10-0 run and never looked back taking a 50-33 lead into halftime. The RiverSharks failed to score from the field for over half of the second quarter. St. Louis would only have two field goals the entire quarter.
In the third period, the Swarm continued to extend their lead. Bloomington led by as much as 31, but the RiverSharks refused to go away. St. Louis was able to get the lead back down to 17 heading into the fourth.
St. Louis cut the lead to 11 with a Hogg steal and layup for two of his 23, which made it 104-93, but the RiverSharks got no closer. Leak and Evans both fouled out in the fourth which hurt any comeback attempt.
The Swarm, somewhat surprisingly, dominated St. Louis on the boards 49-29. They were led by Arnold Louis who grabbed 18 rebounds, including 8 on the offensive glass. Louis also scored a game-high 26.
St. Louis was able to get back in the game on the back of Keith Dewitt and their free throw shooting. The RiverSharks were awarded 69 attempts from the free throw line to the Swarm’s 40. Dewitt made 9 of his 12 attempts at the line to help him score 21 to go along with his 10 rebounds.
The RiverSharks (3-1) play again this Thursday when they travel to Bloomington for a rematch against the Flex. St. Louis got the hard-fought win in their first matchup at the Family Arena, 113-109. The RiverSharks will then next take the court to play the Gateway Steam on Jan. 24.
(Photo Credit: Craig Pessman/Champaign Swarm/Facebook)
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