It’s not the weekend quite yet, but I’m asking the entire JCU student body: Can you get rowdy tonight? After all, it is a Thursday. Why am I asking this? Well, it’s simple.
For those who are unaware, the John Carroll University men’s basketball team (18-6, 13-5 OAC) will compete in the Ohio Athletic Conference semifinals tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Tony DeCarlo Varsity Center. As the top seed in the OAC and the regular season conference champions, the Blue Streaks not only hold home court advantage throughout the tournament, but are also the favorites to win the tournament, although it won’t be easy by any means.
What’s crazy to think about is how the Blue Streaks ended up in this position.
Last Saturday, on the road in Marietta, the Blue Streaks found themselves with their backs against the wall against the Marietta Pioneers. Considering the winner of this game would be awarded the top seed in the OAC Tournament and would be named the regular season conference champion, it’s safe to say that the stakes were high for both sides. Trailing the Pioneers by one, 76-75, with less than 12 seconds remaining in the game, the entire JCU team knew that the time to strike gold was now.
With possession of the ball and the clock inching closer towards striking midnight, senior Corey Shontz drove to the basket for what looked like it could have been the game-winning layup attempt. However, Shontz instead swung a pass to fellow senior teammate Joey Meyer on the left elbow of the 3-point line. With the entire Marietta crowd holding their breath, Meyer jumped in the air and released a 3-pointer that could clinch not only the game, but the top seed in the OAC Tournament.
Bang. Meyer drained the shot as pure as could be with only 5.4 seconds remaining, and the Blue Streaks went on to win the game.
Now, the Blue Streaks are back home tonight, where they are 9-0 this season, to host the semifinal game. If they win, they’ll host the OAC Finals game on Saturday as well.
As mentioned, JCU hasn’t lost when playing at home this season, and if you’ve watched this team play at all, you can tell there’s something special about this group.
Therefore, JCU students, I ask of you: Please “hydrate up,” come to the game tonight and help turn the DeCarlo Varsity Center into a Thursday night party that will hopefully continue through Saturday.
Follow @ZachMentz on Twitter or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org