Holding teams to a low shooting percentage from the field has been the key to John Carroll University men’s basketball recent victories. This did not happen on Saturday, Jan. 31 in Ada, Ohio as Ohio Northern University walked away with a 92-81 win over the Blue Streaks behind a 50.8 shooting percentage.
While ONU was red hot offensively, head coach Mike Moran spoke about his team’s offensive effort.
“You’ve got to score to win, and we did not shoot the ball well,” said Moran. “You look at us from the field and the foul line and we truly didn’t deserve the win – it’s not that the kids didn’t try, but on the road we didn’t shoot the ball well.”
JCU shot 39 percent, thanks in part to junior Ryan Farragher. The Poland, Ohio native led the Blue Streaks with 19 points, shooting 8-of-10 from the field. Senior David Hendrickson added 16 points and six rebounds.
JCU’s starting five seemed poised from the opening tip, as the quintet quickly built up an early 9-2 lead. ONU responded with back-to-back 3-pointers, which sparked a 10-0 run. JCU’s first platoon re-entered the game and went on a 10-0 run of its own, sparked by sophomore David Linane. The Euclid native scored four quick points to give JCU a six-point lead with 4:18 remaining in the half.
Hendrickson and Farragher closed out the half for the Blue Streaks with two 3-pointers, giving JCU the four-point edge heading into the locker room, 35-31.
The second half was a back-and-forth affair, as the Blue Streaks and Polar Bears continued to trade shots. Linane, Hollinger and junior Danny Wallack contributed quick scores for the Blue and Gold, while the Polar Bears responded with a 3-pointer to tie the game at 38.
A steal, a jumper and another quick three gave ONU a five-point lead just five minutes into the second half. The Polar Bears would not relinquish the lead for the remainder of the afternoon.
A 3-pointer by junior Derik Young with 14:32 in the second half cut the Polar Bear lead to four. That would be the closest the Blue Streaks would get for the remainder of the game.
With 5:55 remaining, ONU pushed its lead to 16 points. In the final four and a half minutes, Farragher scored 12 of his 19 points in an attempt to lead a rally. However, the Blue Streaks ran out of time to capitalize, as ONU’s lead never dipped below double digits.
Senior Jake Hollinger chipped in 10 points for JCU, matching the scoring output of sophomore Doug Caputo. Hollinger and Caputo had six and five rebounds, respectively.
JCU only shot 17-of-28, or 60 percent, from the free throw line, going only 10-of-18 in the second half. ONU also scored 40 points in the paint, compared to JCU’s 24.
“We gave up some easy baskets early which allowed them to gain confidence,” Farragher said. “But you still have to give them some credit for hitting tough shots.”
The Blue Streaks are now 13-5 overall and 9-3 in Ohio Athletic Conference play. With just a few games left on the schedule, the team is as focused as it has been all season as the squad continues their run towards the OAC tournament.
When it comes to the remaining six games of the season, Hendrickson said the team’s goals were simple..
“We’re just looking to keep growing and improving as a team,” he said. “We feel like we haven’t played up to our full potential yet, so we just want to keep working together and getting better.”