As it turns out, seven is a lucky number for the John Carroll University men’s basketball team.
The squad’s seventh straight win to start the 2015-16 season came on Saturday, as the Blue Streaks defeated Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, a historically tough place for JCU to play.
Entering Saturday’s contest, the Blue Streaks had a record of 7-24 against the Polar Bears in Ada. History did not play a factor in JCU’s dominant 86-68 victory.
JCU advances to 7-0 overall, 5-0 in Ohio Athletic Conference play. The fast start marks the team’s best since the 2004-05 season, when Mike Moran’s men made the NCAA Division III “Sweet 16.”
The Blue Streaks rolled early, scoring the game’s first six points and capturing a 25-15 lead by the halfway point of the first half. Domination in the paint combined with a pair of early 3-pointers by senior Will Starks paved the way for the Blue and Gold.
JCU utilized its advantage in the paint to increase the lead. Following a Ryan Farragher 3-pointer, the Blue Streaks held a 47-20 lead with 4:33 left in the half. JCU’s offense slowed down at the end of the period, but the Blue Streaks still carried a 49-30 lead into the break.
The second half began like the first, as the Blue and Gold started hot, using a 10-5 run to extend the lead to 59-37 with 15:20 remaining. Senior Simon Kucharewicz added extra oomph with a dunk off a fast break with 12:50 left.
Even as time passed the Blue Streaks kept up the pressure on offense, keeping the lead above 20 points until the three minute mark of the second half.
At the end of the contest, JCU stood as the clearly superior challenger with an 86-68 win.
Kucharewicz led the charge for JCU with 18 points and eight rebounds. Junior David Linane (15) and Farragher (14) closely followed the Kucharewicz in points, while junior Doug Caputo narrowly bested Kucharewicz (8) with nine rebounds in the victory.
Kucharewicz strongly believes the dedication he has to the practice is what has put him in position to play so well early on in the season.
“Coach Spence [Roule] did a great job getting on me during practice. It’s just the little things like moving my feet. I know I can have those games every night. I just gotta play smart and not scared.”
Kucharewicz continued, “[It’s all about] practice. You practice how you play and at the end of the day I know that tomorrow’s game isn’t guaranteed because you can get hurt at any time. So I’m just going to play my heart out every game.”
The Blue Streaks return to action on Saturday, Dec. 12 with a 3 p.m. road matchup with Wilmington College. The Quakers own a 1-5 overall record, 0-2 in OAC play.
After their matchup with the Quakers, JCU will host Marietta College on Saturday, Dec. 19 at 2 p.m., before heading to Daytona Beach, Florida to compete in the Land of Magic Classic against The College at Brockport and Bridgewater State University.