The Streaks are hot. The phrase that carried the John Carroll University men’s basketball team through their 21-game winning streak last season is true so far this year.
So far, the biggest test on the schedule came when JCU hosted the Fighting Scots of The College of Wooster, who were ranked No. 9 in the country.
Sophomores Corey Schontz and Matt Crozier, the MVP of the Scranton Tournament, got JCU off to a solid start with Crozier scoring the first nine points, all on assists from Schontz.
The game went back and forth before JCU found an extra gear to close the game on an 11-3 run to secure a 71-63 victory.
JCU overcame their worst shooting performance of the season, going just four of 12 from behind the arc and hitting 11-22 from the free throw line.
“It was a defensive battle,” said head coach Mike Moran. “Our guys had to go out and find a way to win and get the job done.”
The Blue Streaks found that way with defense. JCU forced 26 turnovers while turning it over 10 times themselves. Zajac and Schontz combined for nine of the 17 steals.
Crozier finished the game with team highs of 18 points and ten rebounds. Schontz posted 11 points to go along with his seven assists.
JCU carried their momentum right into the beginning of their Ohio Athletic Conference schedule as they drove across the Cuyahoga River to face rival Baldwin–Wallace College.
JCU made up for its previous shooting performance by making 25 of its first 37 shots.
The Blue Streaks took a 15 point lead into the halftime and the Yellow Jackets never had a stinging chance. The lead got as big as 34 at one point before JCU coasted to a 96-73 victory.
Corey Schontz led the offense with 17 points and was one of four Blue Streaks who posted double figures for the contest. Senior All-American Rudy Kirbus had 15 points, while juniors Mo Haynes and Tommy Lavelle netted 13 and 10, respectively.
The Blue Streaks hosted the Fighting Muskies of Muskingum this past Saturday to cap off the week. JCU, the pre-season pick to win the conference, edged the Muskies, pegged for last, 76-66.
After starting the game on a 20-8 run, JCU started to get a little careless on both ends of the court. They posted their lowest three-point shooting percentage of the season, going eight of 31 for the game.
Corey Schontz once again led the offense with 17 points and seven assists. Kirbus was the only other Blue Streak in double figures with 13 points.
The Blue Streaks held a 70-46 lead with four minutes left in the game, so the final score appears to be a bit deceiving.
“You always take a win,” said Moran. “It’s a long season and you’re going to have games where the energy level is down and guys don’t have their best game. But when the games happen you have to use that as motivation in practice to get better for the next game.”
That message got through to his players.
“We have to keep working every day and every game,” said Haynes. “We have to do the work now so we’re not trying to make up for it in March.”
Editor’s Note: Results from last night’s game against Mount Union were unavailable for this edition.