Coming off a mid-week loss to the University of Mount Union, the John Carroll University men’s basketball team looked to rebound against a struggling Ohio Northern University team. The Blue Streaks did so on Saturday, with an 82-64 win, the team’s first in Ohio Athletic Conference play this year.
Making it a point to come out with intensity, the Blue Streaks jumped out to an early 11-3 lead just over three minutes into JCU’s home opener.
The Polar Bears hung tough for much of the first half, keeping the game within six at the break, 43-37.
If not for junior forward Jake Hollinger, JCU’s outlook would have been dimmer entering the second half. Hollinger put up five points in the last 56 seconds of the half thanks to an and-one layup and a circus shot right before the buzzer went off.
ONU came out blazing in the second halfand knotted the score twice during the second period, but JCU always had an answer, never allowing the Polar Bears to obtain a second half lead.
The Blue Streaks finished the game on a 12-3 run and eventually pulled away, winning their home opener 82-64.
“We made some key stops down the stretch,” junior guard David Hendrickson said. “Something we didn’t do against Mount Union was make stops when we needed them. Against ONU, our defense stepped up a little bit down the stretch and we were able to make a couple key stops when we needed them.”
Hollinger, who finished the contest with an impressive 12 points and eight rebound stat line, credited Hendrickson for the team’s impressive performance.
“It was a great team win,” Hollinger said. “Hendrickson really stepped up and played well. It was a good to see that we could still pull out a win when we shot the ball poorly from outside. We continue to improve every week, and I’m looking forward to doing some more damage in the OAC.”
Hendrickson finished the game with 14 points and was very active on the defensive end, as was the rest of the JCU defense, which held the Polar Bears to just 37 percent shooting and 27 percent from behind the arc.
This victory was an important one for JCU as the squad looks to gain confidence heading into the thick of OAC play.
JCU hits the the road on Saturday, traveling to Capital University for a 2 p.m. matchup.