MARIETTA - After defeating Mount Union in a 97-90 shootout Wednesday, the Marietta College men's basketball team has its sights set on John Carroll.
Marietta (10-4, 6-1) will be hosting the Blue Streaks (6-7, 3-4) at 3 p.m. today at Ban Johnson Arena.
With the Pioneers and the Blue Streaks each being near the top of the OAC the past few years, the two teams have developed a competitive rivalry, After beating JC three times two seasons ago, Marietta dropped both contests to the Blue Streaks a year ago.
"When we started building our program, the premier team in the league was John Carroll," said MC head coach Jon VanderWal. "We felt like we were trying to catch them and Capital. Our guys don't look at John Carroll's record; they look at it as a big rivalry.''
John Carroll and Marietta are No. 1 and 2 in the league in scoring respectively, the Blue Streaks averaging 82 points per game compared to 79.1 for the Pios. The difference between the two teams has been on the defensive side, as Marietta is giving up just 69.3 points per game (3rd in OAC) while John Carroll is allowing 80.1 (9th).
VanderWal said it is important for Marietta not play into John Carroll's type of basketball. "They're going to press the whole game; they're an up-tempo team," VanderWal said. "If we play their style of basketball, we're going to be in trouble.
"It's a fine line, because we're an up-tempo team as well. We play two different styles of up-tempo, though. We just have to get quality shots and take care of the basketball, so they don't fast-break."
Marietta is led by senior J.J. Martin, coming off a 33-point game against Mount Union, is averaging team-highs with 16.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. John Carroll is led by Kyle Hubbard's 16.6 points per game.
The Marietta College women's cage squad, coming off a tough loss to No. 20 Mount Union Wednesday, look to rebound on the road against John Carroll today, also at 3 p.m.
Marietta has a 6-8 overall record, but has struggled in conference play at 1-6. John Carroll hasn't fared much better at 2-5 in the OAC.