Despite a back and forth first half, the John Carroll University men’s basketball team controlled the second half of play, closing out Ohio Northern University and improving to 19-0 on the season with the 84-73 victory.
The Blue Streaks came out and set the tone early, carrying a lead for the first six minutes of the contest. The Polar Bears responded, never letting the lead get out of hand and knotting the score up at 13 with 13 minutes left in the half after a three-pointer from ONU’s Travis Feitshands.
After the Polar Bears followed Feitshands’ three-pointer with another three, the Blue Streaks immediately responded, taking control over the next six minutes of the contest, capping off with a three-pointer by senior Derik Young with just over seven minutes left in the half to stretch JCU’s lead to seven points.
Again, ONU responded, going on a run of their own to take a 37-34 lead just three minutes later.
Behind strong play from senior Will Starks and junior David Linane to close out the half, the Blue Streaks went on a final run, giving JCU a four point lead at the break.
The second half began similar to the first, with JCU holding a slight lead over the first few minutes before the Polar Bears went on yet another small run, tieing the game up at 59-59 with just over 13 minutes left in the game.
JCU turned up the defensive pressure at this point, and took a lead they would never relinquish. The Blue Streaks stretched their lead to as large as 14 at one point, ultimately defeating the Polar Bears 84-73.
For JCU, Linane led the team in scoring, dropping 21 points on 6-of-11 from the field and 3-of-5 from three-point land. Starks was the lone other Blue Streaks player in double-digits, as the senior guard added 12 points of his own.
Senior Simon Kucharewicz and junior Ryan Farragher put together solid performances as well, scoring nine points apiece.
Sophomore John Cirillo led the team in rebounds with eight boards on the day.
For the Polar Bears, Aron Thress led the way with a huge stat line, pouring in 28 points on 14-of-21 shooting to go along with nine rebounds in the loss.
The Blue Streaks now sit at 19-0 overall and 12-0 in the Ohio Athletic Conference heading into their matchup with Otterbein University on Wednesday, Feb. 3.
After their matchup on Wednesday against the Cardinals, JCU has five more regular season games on the schedule to try and complete the perfect regular season before heading into postseason play.
Editor’s Note: The John Carroll University men’s basketball team returned to action on Wednesday, Feb. 3 against Otterbein University in University Heights, Ohio. Head to jcusports.com for a full game recap and box score.