The road back to the Ohio Athletic Conference Championship for John Carroll University’s men’s basketball team began in Scranton, Pennslyvania in the Radisson/PNC Invitational with a contest against Alvernia University on Saturday, Nov. 15. In the team’s second all-time meeting with the Crusaders, the Blue and Gold dropped their first contest of the year, 94-88.
JCU hung around with the Crusaders, who earned a 2014 NCAA Division III Tournament bid, keeping the score within a possession for the majority of the first half. With 13:08 left in the first, the Blue and Gold earned their first lead of the game. The lead would change four more times in the contest, while the scoreboard showed nine ties over the course of the game.
In the final stretch of the first half, Alvernia stretched its lead all the way to 15 points. Sophomore guard David Linane helped propel a late 9-0 run that helped the Blue Streaks cut the lead to six heading into the locker room.
The second half was a game of runs, as the Blue and Gold used an 11-0 run to take a four-point lead early in the second half. Alvernia’s late 7-0 run helped secure a lead the Crusaders would not give up, dropping the Blue Streaks to 0-1 on the season.
JCU won the rebounding battle, 47-37, in the contest, earning the team 27 second chance points.
Head coach Mike Moran showcased 11 Blue Streaks in the season opener, as the JCU bench outscored the Crusaders’ subs, 30-19. Both squads did an impressive job in the paint, each adding 36 points to the final score line down low.
JCU started the season with career highs, starting with sophomore Doug Caputo, who earned 21 points in his first time out. Caputo led all JCU scorers with 21 points while grabbing seven rebounds.
Senior forward Jake Hollinger scored 16 points while grabbing a team leading 12 rebounds while Linane and freshman John Cirillo each scored 10 points.
The Crusaders forced the Blue and Gold into 23 turnovers, while Alvernia added 26 points off the JCU mistakes.
In game two of the Radisson/PNC Invitational, the Blue Streaks faced off against Centenary College on Sunday, Nov. 16.
A strong team effort in which six different Blue Streaks poured in double-digit scoring efforts, JCU outscored the Cyclones in both halves, earning their first victory of the season, 109-93.
Three guards – senior David Hendrickson, sophomore David Linane and freshman Tony Vuyanich – all poured in 19 points apiece, leading the team in scoring.
A pair of juniors, Danny Wallack and Ryan Farragher, and freshman John Cirillo, also put up double-digit efforts.
The depth of this team and the possibilities of the platoon shined brightly in their matchup against Centenary, as the JCU looks to carry this momentum into the upcoming Hilbert Hawks Tip-off Tournament.
The Blue Streaks next game will be in that tournament, as they travel to Hamburg, New York to face Hilbert College on Thursday, Nov. 20 and SUNY Potsdam on Friday, Nov. 21.
Hendrickson spoke about what the team hopes to get out of the upcoming matchups, “We’re looking forward to the tournament as it should be a good opportuity to play against talented competition and see how we compare.”