Pios got ‘hooked’ at the BanJo

Marietta College suffered a mortal wound when Capital University’s Austin Schreck made a baseline hook shot at the 4:49 mark of Wednesday night’s men’s basketball game at the BanJo.

Anthony Wallace, arguably MC’s best one-on-one defender, couldn’t have played any better D on Schreck. I mean, the Pioneer standout — who by the way recently scored his 1,000th career point — was right on the Crusader shooter.

But after Schreck did his Kareem Abdul-Jabbar move on the right baseline, Wallace had this funny expression on his face that could only be interpreted as “How did he do that?”

Nobody shoots hook shots like that anymore. It was Jabbar’s signature shot, and it was high percentage for him. But for anyone else, it’s really not.

What you see today are pivot players like Marietta College’s Tim Kreeger and Kyle Matoszkia take baby hooks in the paint — but not from the baseline. If they did, Pioneer head coach Jon VanderWal would probably have a coronary.

Schreck’s highlight film shot and score was just one bucket, and it did give the Crusaders (12-2, 7-0) a 71-69 lead. There was still a lot of time left in the contest.

But it did beg the question, “How do you beat a team that’s making shots like that?”

Well, you don’t as 10th-ranked MC (12-2, 6-1) ultimately dropped an 82-78 decision.

But VanderWal and the Pioneers really can’t be too discouraged. They after all led for most of the contest, and Capital had to shoot over 60 percent from the floor to beat them (Marietta shot only 44 percent.) — and still the Crusaders only won by four points.

CU senior Caleb Cox was perfection inside, making 10 of 10 shots, including an alley-oop score at the 8:14 mark that made it 62-61 Cap. Will Hannah delivered the pass and got the assist. Until Schreck’s shot, that was the bucket of the night.

Even while getting torched from the floor, Marietta still had its chances to win at the end, but alas came up just short. As hot as the Crusaders were from the field, they struggled from the foul line down the stretch, converting just 6 of 10.

The Pioneers will get an opportunity to avenge this setback when they play at Capital at 7 p.m. Jan. 30.

And, as good as Cox is, I’ll wager that he’ll miss a shot or two. (Hey, nobody’s perfect, right?)

Also, if Schreck makes another one of those baseline hooks, somebody had better conduct an investigation to see if he’s receiving lessons from Jabbar. (I’m only kidding.)

Meanwhile, Marietta will be seeking a bounce-back victory at Ohio Northern University at 5 p.m. Saturday. The Polar Bears (4-10, 0-7) are in last place in the OAC standings.

Even so, VanderWal and the Pioneers won’t be looking at this league game as a gimme. They know they’ll have to earn it the old-fashioned way on the hardwood.

They’re also hoping that ONU doesn’t have a player who takes baseline hook shots like Schreck.

Ron Johnston is a Marietta Times sports writer, and can be reached at rjohnston@mariettatimes.com

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