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MC men fall in OAC tournament

Photo by Ron Johnston Marietta College guard Jason Ellis drives past John Carroll's Ryan Berger during the Pioneers' 86-79 loss to the Blue Streaks Wednesday evening in an Ohio Athletic Conference tournament semifinal.

MARIETTA — While Marietta College was the better team after the break, it couldn’t overcome John Carroll University’s first-half fireworks.

The second-seeded Pioneers came back from a 25-point deficit early in the second half, but still fell short, dropping an 86-79 decision to the third-seeded Blue Streaks University Thursday night in an Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament men’s basketball semifinal at Ban Johnson Arena.

“We dominated the second half,” said MC head coach Jon VanderWal. “But they obviously dominated the first half.

“But I’m proud of our kids. They showed some resiliency and came back — and fought back. We gave ourselves a chance.”

Marietta, No. 21-ranked in the D3hoops.com Top 25 with a 21-6 record, will now await to see if it receives an at-large big bid to the NCAA Division III tournament.

“We’re hoping and I like our chances,” VanderWal said. “And I think if we get in, we can make some noise.”

Lukas Isaly paced the Pioneers with a game-high 22 points, 18 in the second half, and five assists. Caleb Hoyng added a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Christian James chipped in with 11 points, 8 in the first half, while Tim Kreeger and Mason Lydic netted 10 apiece.

Kreeger also collected nine caroms.

With the victory, John Carroll (19-8) is scheduled to play at top-seeded Mount Union (24-3) in an OAC Tournament championship game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The Purple Raiders downed Heidelberg University, 97-66, in Thursday’s other semi.

Against Marietta, JCU was led by Ryan Berger’s 21 points. Jackson Sartain added 18 points while Patrick Flannery and James Berger had 14 and 11, respectively. Luke Hippler grabbed nine boards, and Sean Flannery dished out seven assists.

MC got off to a good start with a 7-0 run on two straight buckets by Kreeger and a triple by Ellis.

After a John Carroll timeout, the Blue Streaks went from heating up to flatout red hot. Before the first half was over, JCU was in command and led 54-36 going into the locker room. Leading the charge for the visitors from University Heights were Sartain and Patrick Flannery, who scored 16 and 14 points, respectively.

During first-half action, John Carroll shot 59.4 percent (19-32) from the field and 57.1 percent (12-21) from 3-point range.

Early in the second half, JCU stretched its advantage to 25 points, 64-39. It was at about this time that Isaly got hot and helped ignite a comeback.

After Isaly drained three straight trifectas and Hoyng made a bucket and bonus freebie, the Pioneers cut it to 13, 66-53.

Then, Isaly banked home a shot and was fouled. Converting the ensuing free-throw, MC trailed by 10.

Meanwhile, as hot as the Blue Streaks were in the first half, they couldn’t buy a bucket.

Still whittling away at the JCU lead, MC cut it to five, 70-65, on Hoyng’s triple.

With 2:32 left, Hoyng knocked down another 3, and the Pioneers trailed by four, 76-72.

Down the stretch, though, John Carroll was a deadeye from the foul line, converting 10 straight, to keep the Pioneers at bay.

“We had our chances,” VanderWal said. “We’ve been a little bit inconsistent this year. And, we’ve got to figure out how to play 40 minutes against good teams.”

Ron Johnston can be reached at rjohnston@mariettatimes.com

WOMEN

#10 Baldwin Wallace 72, Marietta 41

BEREA, Ohio –Marietta College concluded its season at 14-13 following a 72-41 loss to No. 10 Baldwin Wallace here Thursday evening in the Ohio Athletic Conference semifinals.

The Yellow Jackets (25-2) managed a 24-14 lead after one and pushed ahead 33-20 at the break. The Pioneers (14-13) shot just 29.4% (15 of 51) and lost the battle on the boards, 45-30.

Kasey Hughes led BW with a game-high 17 points and Megan Hensel came off the bench to grab a game-high 10 rebounds.

Marietta College, which went 2 of 17 from deep, was led in scoring by Marlo Taylor’s dozen counters. She also had a game-high two blocks. Alexis Enochs pitched in nine points,, six rebounds and two steals. Jill Congrove had seven points, Devin Hefner finished with five points, three boards and two assists for the Pioneers, who also received four tallies and six caroms off the bench from Jordyn Kiser.

BW also had a 14-point effort from Kara Marshall while Gabby Garrett tallied 11 markers.

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