The John Carroll University men’s basketball team suffered a heartbreaking defeat on Saturday, Jan. 17 to the University of Mount Union.
The rivalry game came down to the wire. But ultimately, Mount Union came through with the big 95-92 win. They now claim sole possession of second place in the OAC. The loss dropped JCU to 10-4 overall and 6-2 in the Ohio Athletic Conference.
The game featured the same type of intensity as the two meetings during the football season.
Both teams focused the outside shot, as they combined for 72 3-point attempts.
JCU started hot right out of the gate, taking an early 17-7 lead. The lead climbed to 12 with 13:44 left in the first half. However, the big lead was short lived, as Mount Union used a 10-0 run to tie it up with under seven minutes left in the first half.
When halftime rolled around, Mount Union had taken a four-point lead.
A big 3-pointer by senior guard David Hendrickson helped fuel an 11-0 run by JCU to start the second half. Junior Dan Hennessey also chipped in four straight points at the end of the run.
JCU maintained its double-digit lead for much of the second half. The Blue Streaks held a 12-point lead with only 6:26 remaining in the game.
However, the lead did not hold up. The Purple Raiders chipped away and utilized a big run late in the game. Mount Union used the hot shooting to spark a 7-0 run with under two minutes to go. By the end of the run, JCU was looking at a three-point deficit, trailing 93-90.
The final minute of the game left fans on the edge of their seats, as Hendrickson made it a one-point game with only 12 seconds left. After Mount Union drained two free-throws, the final play of the game left Blue Streak fans devastated, as junior Will Starks’ three-point attempt to send the game to overtime was off the mark.
The Blue Streaks used balanced scoring, as they have all season, with four different players in double figures. Sophomore guard David Linane led the team with 21 points and added six assists. The other double-digit scorers for JCU included Hendrickson with 16, senior forward Jake Hollinger with 15, and Starks notched 11.
The Blue Streaks did not shoot as well as they are accustomed to, making only 10-of-35 3-point tries, while Mount Union improved after a slow start. After hitting only 4-of-19 3-point attempts in the first half, Mount Union knocked down 7-of-18 threes in the second half.
Even with the demoralizing loss, JCU can still look forward to getting a rematch in February, this time at home.
The next team on the schedule for the Blue Streaks is the Baldwin Wallace University Yellow Jackets on Wednesday, Jan. 21 in the Tony DeCarlo Varsity Center.
This game is critical for the Blue Streaks in their continued pursuit of a high seed in the OAC tournament as they are tied with the Yellow Jackets for third place in the conference.
A JCU win can move the team into sole ownership of third place in the OAC, as the Blue and Gold fight to keep up with both Marietta College and Mount Union.
Editor’s Note: The Blue Streaks faced off against Baldwin Wallace University on Wednesday, Jan. 21. Head to jcusports.com for a full recap and box score.