Owens perfect from floor as MC downs John Carroll U, 81-70

Jacob Owens was simply perfect.

The 5-foot-9 senior sharpshooter from Mansfield scored a team-high 20 points on seven of seven from the floor as Marietta College downed John Carroll University, 81-70, in Ohio Athletic Conference men’s basketball action at Ban Johnson Arena Saturday.

“This is the first game I’ve ever been perfect in my career,” said Owens, who was six of six from three-point range. “I just shot it pretty well today, and I had all the confidence in the world. I came in early this morning and shot.”

MC non-starter Brennan McKean added 18 points on five of nine from behind the arc, and J.J. Martin had 15 markers. Tyler Hammond netted nine points and a game-high six assists. Jason Humphrey grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.

“I’m just proud of our team,” said Marietta head coach Jon VanderWal, whose Pioneers improved their record to 11-4 overall and 7-1 in the OAC. “Any OAC win is a good win.

“I thought our game plan was spot on, and our kids executed it perfectly.”

Mike Moran-coached John Carroll (6-8, 3-5) was paced by Regan Sweeney, who tallied a game-high 29 points. Kyle Hubbard chipped in with 12 points, and non-starter David Hendrickson had 10. Kenny Janz had a game-high 11 rebounds.

“Sweeney’s game killed us, but if he’s taking a bunch of shots then Hubbard’s not,” VanderWal said. “That’s probably a good thing.”

Hammond and Sweeney each had the hot hand after the opening tip-off, scoring five points apiece. But after a Pioneer timeout at the 17:15 mark, Martin and Garrett Stephenson each scored, and Martin converted two freebies to give the home team an 11-5 advantage, which it never relinquished.

Leading 16-12, Marietta scored 13 unanswered points to give itself a 17-point cushion. During the run, Owens’ three put the lead into double-digits (24-12) for the first time.

Late in the first half, Marietta’s advantage bulged to 20-plus on free-throws by Hammond and Humphrey.

John Carroll closed out first-half action with a 5-0 run but trailed 41-25 going into the locker room. Thanks to Sweeney’s 16 first-half points, the Blue Streaks, who were nine of 34 from the field, barely had a pulse.

“It’s not too often that you can hold John Carroll to 26 points in the first half or whatever it was,” VanderWal said.

Owens’ long halfcourt bounce pass to Martin for a score on a fastbreak started the second half. The rout was on – or was it?

Early on in the second 20 minutes of action, Marietta stretched its lead to 24 (55-31). During the surge, McKean hit three threes.

But John Carroll did not throw in the proverbial towel, and slowly but surely whittled away at the deficit. With under six minutes left in the contest, the Blue Streaks cut the MC lead to single digits, 68-59, on Danny Wallack’s three.

Then, with a little over three minutes remaining, Hendrickson’s trifecta reduced the defict to eight, 74-66.

“We find a way to make things interesting, that’s for sure,” VanderWal said. “Well, y’know, I think that’s a little human nature. It’s something that you fight as a coach, and you try to get your team not to relax a little bit. And I tell our guys all the time that if you relax just for a second, especially against a team like John Carroll, and you let them make a couple of momentum plays, things can get hairy in a hurry.

“I think we just relaxed a little bit, and they started to make some shots. But guys like Jacob and Brennan McKean made some big, big shots just to kind of keep them at bay.”

After JCU cut it to eight, Owens made two big threes to help put the Pioneer lead back into double digits.

“I saw that they were comng back,” Owens said, “and we needed the lift. “When coach put me back in, he gives me the confidence to shoot. So, I just shoot freely, and I was making them. I just did my job.”

Not surprisingly, Owens considered the game as one of the best he ever had in a Pioneer uniform.

“This was pretty big,” Owens said. “I mean, it’s my senior year.

“This is the biggest game I’ve had in a while. Last year, I had six or seven threes in one game but I didn’t go perfect. This is definitely up there.”

Marietta is scheduled to play at OAC-leading Capital University at 7 p.m. Wednesday.


John Carroll 80,

Marietta College 65

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS – Marietta College had no answer for Melissa Spahar on Saturday as she led John Carroll to an 80-65 Ohio Athletic Conference victory by posting game-highs of 25 points and 12 rebounds to go along with a trio of steals against the Pioneers.

MC (6-9, 1-7) actually held a 35-31 cushion at halftime, but John Carroll shot better than 56 percent from the field after intermission. Candice Alexander and Heather Booth both had double-doubles in the setback. Alexander joined Tori Dixon in scoring 13 points apiece and tied Booth, who had a dozen markers, with a team-high 10 rebounds.