The John Carroll University men’s basketball team’s season reached new heights as the team capped off one of the best two-week periods in program history.
After the Blue Streaks defeated the University of Mount Union and Baldwin Wallace University in back-to-back games, JCU is officially undefeated halfway through Ohio Athletic Conference play for the first time in program history.
JCU continued their winning ways on Saturday, Jan. 23, defeating the Wilmington College, 79-70.
The Fightin’ Quakers entered the Tony DeCarlo Varsity Center on the 23rd with one goal in mind: to knock off the top team in the OAC and the No. 5 team in the nation. This was a Wilmington squad that, while coming in at 3-11, was very experienced, with 10 of their 15 players being seniors.
Fast physical play was the tale of the tape as both teams ground it out in the paint and on the defensive end. The game stayed close through its entirety, as there was 14 lead changes throughout.
The main difference in the first half was free throws. Wilmington asserted themselves at the line, going 13-of-13 at the line. Meanwhile, JCU continued their struggles from the charity strip, shooting just 53 percent in the first half. The Quakers used that advantage, taking a two-point lead into the half, leaving JCU with just their third halftime deficit of the year.
In the second half the game, Wilmington cooled off from both the field and the free throw line.
The Blue Streaks took advantage. JCU’s 28 bench points and vigorous paint presence enforced by senior Simon Kucharewicz. Kucharewicz contributed 17 of the team’s 34 points in the paint along with seven rebounds in 24 minutes on the court.
For the Blue Streaks, David Linane took charge as the court general, commanding the offense with his assertive style. The junior created for himself in the second half by slashing through double teams and hitting step-back jumpers. The point guard finished with 24 points while shooting 60 percent. He also put up five rebounds, five assists, and three steals on the night.
Behind Linane and Kucharewicz, the Blue Streaks rallied and controlled the second half, winning the second frame by 11 points, and ultimately defeating the Fightin’ Quakers, 79-70.
JCU’s 79 points against Wilmington was the second fewest total they scored all season, only ahead of the 75 they scored against Capital University in a 75-74 victory on Jan. 4.
Heading into Wednesday’s contest against Heidelberg University, the Blue Streaks sit at 17-0 on the season and 10-0 in OAC play.
Editor’s Note: The John Carroll University men’s basketball team returned to action on Wednesday, Jan. 27 against Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio. Head to jcusports.com for a full game recap and box score.