College basketball: MC women fall to John Carroll

Marietta College was stuck on 55 for a long time.

In the second half, the Lady Pioneers went scoreless for over nine minutes while No. 16-ranked John Carroll University had a 23-0 run.

MC, which trailed by two, 57-55, never recovered from that JCU surge, and dropped an 88-65 decision in Ohio Athletic Conference women’s basketball action at Ban Johnson Arena Saturday.

“They’re a good team,” said second-year MC head coach Stacia Shrider. “They’re notorious for their scoring. They did a good job of running in transition, and scoring some easy layups off of our misses.

“But when we want to, we can score, too. We’re just got to do a better job of stringing two halves together.”

Candice Alexander and Heather Booth each had 15 points to lead Marietta, which fell to 8-7 overall and 2-6 in the OAC. Booth also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds. Tori Dixon chipped in with 11 markers.

Alexander did not score in the second half.

Melissa Spahar, the OAC’s leading scorer, tallied a game-high 28 points, 16 in the first half, to pace the OAC first-place Lady Blue Streaks (tied with Baldwin-Wallace), who improved to 12-1, 7-1. Beth Switzler added a double-double with 16 points and 10 boards, Allison Lustig and Daniella Rice netted 13 and 10 markers, respectively. Lustig also dished out a game-high eight assists.

As lopsided as the second half turned out to be, the opening 20 minutes were a see-saw battle with seven ties and six lead changes.

Alexander had the hot hand at the start, scoring eight of her team’s first 10 points. During an 8-0 MC run with about eight minutes before the break, the 5-foot-10 junior forward from Fairborn tallied four points, while Paige Lamb and Booth had one bucket apiece to stretch the home team’s advantage to eight, 31-23.

But John Carroll, sparked by Spahar and Switzler, rallied and bounced back to regain the lead 39-38 with 1:59 left.

With 30 seconds on the clock, Booth nailed a jumper to tie the score at 43-all. But with time running out, JCU’s Emily Taylor rimmed home a three to give the visitors from University Heights a 46-43 halftime edge.

During first-half action, Marietta shot 56.7 percent (17 of 30) from the floor, but John Carroll was one three-point make better, 18 of 30 from the field.

After the intermission, MC never led but stayed close to JCU early on, thanks to four Booth buckets. Shortly after Lady Pioneer freshman Lindsey Eckstein’s score in the paint cut it to 57-55, the Lady Streaks called timeout.

When play was resumed, Lustig drained a three, Switzler made a reverse layup, and JCU was off and running. When the smoke figuratively and finally cleared, the Lady Blue Streaks owned an 80-55 lead.

In the second half, MC made eight of 30 shots from the floor and was four of 14 from the line.

“There was just a lid on the basket for us, and we couldn’t find anybody that was hot in the second half,” Shriver said. “The first half we looked good, but in the second half, we went ice cold, and we let them do whatever they wanted to do offensively again.”

Marietta’s first two points after John Carroll’s 23-point surge came from the charity stripe. The Lady Pioneers’ first field goal was Dixon’s triple at the 3:11 mark.

“We need to do a better job of knocking down open shots when we’re open and looking to attack the rim when things start to get tough,” Shriver said. “A lot of times when teams start to get tighter or other teams go on a run, we start settling for threes or jumpers, and that’s when we really need to stop the momentum, get ourselves to the free-throw line, attack and get layups.

“It always seems like each game, we either have a good first half or a good second half. We need to start putting 40 minutes together, and then we’ll be pretty dangerous.”

Marietta is scheduled to play at Capital University in another OAC tilt Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. “We’ve just got to re-group and re-focus (for Capital),” Shriver said. “We can’t dwell on it (John Carroll loss) too much, like we always say.”

Note: MC senior Tori Dixon is now 33 points shy of reaching the 1,000-point career milestone.

Men

Marietta 78, John Carroll 70

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS – Marietta College received a game-high 19 points from RaNeal Ewing and left town here Saturday with a 78-70 Ohio Athletic Conference victory against host John Carroll.

Brennan McKean contributed 14 points and Andy Dollman added 10 for the Pioneers (11-4, 6-2).

Jake Hollinger led John Carroll (10-5, 4-4) in scoring with 18 while teammate David Hendrickson tallied a dozen markers.