It was a picture perfect start to the season for the John Carroll University men’s basketball team last weekend. After traveling to Meadville, Pa., the team dominated Adrian College and Alma College in a pair of double-digit victories.
The young JCU squad came into the contest on Friday hoping to discover where their scoring would come from this season.
Sophomore Simon Kucharewicz may have answered that question.
Kucharewicz did not start the game, but came off the bench to produce a fantastic stat line of 23 points and nine rebounds in 20 minutes of work.
Tough defense by the Blue Streaks held Adrian to just 32.3 percent shooting and, in the end, that was enough as JCU began the season as hoped with a 71-53 win.
While it’s a rarity for any team to go start to finish without relinquishing the lead, that is exactly what the Blue Streaks did Saturday, handling Alma College 115-84.
Game two’s finish was similar to the first, with the noticeable difference being the spreading of the wealth among the Blue Streaks. Seven different players scored in double figures.
Leading the way for JCU was junior forward Jake Hollinger, who poured in 16 points.
Fellow frontcourt men Kucharewicz and freshman Doug Caputo both finished with 11. After the two games, the young frontcourt the Blue Streaks will be relying upon for much of the season has shown promise.
A trio of sophomores: Danny Wallack (12 points), Joey Vuyanich (14 points) and Will Starks (10 points) all recorded double-digit scoring efforts.
Freshman point guard David Linane had arguably the best game of the night for JCU, dropping 13 points, dishing out six assists and swiping four steals.
Hollinger reiterated the importance of seeing what the younger players have to offer.
“It was important for us to get off to a good start because of how young our team is,” Hollinger said. “We have a lot to learn from the two games this weekend and we have a lot of room to improve. Anyone on our roster is capable of coming into the game and providing valuable minutes.”
Thanks to the two victories, the Blue Streaks are 2-0 for the first time since the 2010-2011 season.
They travel to Buffalo, N.Y. for another back-to-back swing of games against Johnson and Wales University on Friday, and Buffalo State on Saturday.
Conference play opens up after the Buffalo State Coles Classic this weekend. The Blue Streaks will open up at the University Mount Union on Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m.
The John Carroll University women’s basketball squad started the 2013-14 campaign in Erie, Pa. at the Creative Imprints Tip-Off Tournament on Friday, Nov. 15.
For the third time in four seasons, the Blue Streaks began the year with two straight wins. This year, the victories came over Grove City College and Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, allowing JCU to walk away with the tournament championship.
Grove City challenged JCU in the first game of the tournament on Friday. The Blue Streaks took the lead early in the first half and never looked back.
Shooting close to 63 percent from the field, the Blue Streaks only lost the lead once.
Going into the locker room for halftime, the Blue Streaks led 40-22 and seemed to have full control of the contest.
Led by juniors Beth Switzler and Emily Taylor, freshman Katlyn Spahar and senior Missy Spahar, who all had over 10 points on the day, the team coasted through the second half.
Never letting go of the lead, JCU extended the lead to as much as 20 points for the rest of the game.
When the final buzzer rang, the Blue Streaks had four different scorers in the double-digits.
The victory set up a matchup on Saturday with host Penn State-Behrend to decide the championship.
The Blue Streaks put together a full team effort against the Lions, earning a 73-40 win over the hosts to start the season 2-0 for the second straight season.
The Blue and Gold found success in many areas against the Lions, but none more than in the paint.
JCU dominated in the paint, snagging 36 total rebounds and getting to the line eight times. Switzler tabbed five of the team’s 18 offensive boards, while the Blue Streaks scored 17 second-chance points.
Pressure on defense created offense for JCU.
The Blue and Gold forced the Lions to commit 27 turnovers, which JCU turned into 29 points.
Eight Blue Streaks created at least one turnover, as Missy Spahar led the way with four steals of her own.
The elder Spahar was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, as the senior notched a combined 40 points and 17 rebounds in the two contests.
“Honestly, the MVP was a team effort,” Missy Spahar said. “If I didn’t have the teammates I have I would never of accomplished that award.”
The Blue and Gold have some time off before their next game, as the squad does not play again until Dec. 1.