Thanks to a stellar defensive effort, the John Carroll University men’s basketball team remains undefeated at home during the 2014-2015 season. On Saturday, the Blue Streaks defeated the Capital University Crusaders, 65-63, in a defensive battle that came down to the wire.
JCU was led by sophomore David Linane, who played one of his best games all season, recording 13 points, seven assists, four rebounds and three steals.
Typically, head coach Mike Moran’s teams are known for jumping out to a quick lead. However, this wasn’t the case on Saturday. After five minutes of play, the Crusaders and Blue Streaks remained tied at five.
“I think playing great defensively does helped light a spark for our offense,” Linane said. “When we get stops on the defensive side it helps us gain confidence on the offensive side because we know we are capable of stopping the other team.”
About midway through the first half, the Blue and Gold came alive. A breakaway layup by senior David Hendrickson was quickly followed up by a two-hand slam by sophomore Doug Caputo, giving the Blue Streaks a 15-12 lead, forcing Capital to call a timeout.
Another layup from Hendrickson, followed by a 3-pointer from junior Danny Wallack, extended JCU’s lead to six after the timeout. Both teams remained scoreless for the next two minutes until freshman Tony Vuyancih scored a 3-pointer, putting the Blue Streaks up by nine, 23-14, with 7:30 remaining.
The Crusaders would not go down without a fight, yet, regaining a one-point lead over the next five minutes. However, this would be short-lived. As the teams traded baskets, ultimately a three from Linane and a layup from Hendrickson sent the Blue Streaks to the locker room with a 32-30 lead.
The teams came back out onto the court continuing to trade baskets to start the second half, until junior Will Starks sank a layup to extend the JCU’s lead to five. Another scoring drought ensued for JCU for the next three minutes, until Caputo hit a jumper with 13:52 remaining.
A 3-pointer cut JCU’s lead to three, but four points courtesy of Hendrickson and Linane in just 13 seconds forced Capital to call a timeout.
Immediately after the timeout, Linane recorded another steal and a fast break layup.
Capital responded with a 6-2 run, and with five minutes left, trailed JCU by just two points. JCU would not lose their lead for the rest of the game, but Capital countered every shot. Linane continued to impress during this stretch, as he hit a deep jumper and a series of key foul shots to put JCU up, 61-58, with 2:21 remaining.
The Crusaders would have no choice but to continue to foul the Blue Streaks. JCU’s final four points came from behind the charity stripe. Capital gained possession of the ball with 10 seconds left, but a last second three was no good.
To go along with Linane, Caputo recorded 13 points, seven rebounds, two steals and one block for JCU. Hendrickson chipped in 11 points and three steals.
“I thought the kids executed our game plan well,” Moran said. “The defensive part of the floor lent itself to our offense.”
The Blue Streaks are now 15-5 overall and 11-3 in Ohio Athletic Conference play.
Editor’s Note: JCU returns to action on Wednesday, Feb. 11 as they travel to Berea, Ohio to face off against OAC rivals Baldwin Wallace. Head to jcusports.com for full game recap.