Marietta College men top John Carroll, 81-70

MARIETTA – Jacob Owens was simply perfect.

The 5-foot-9 senior sharpshooter from Mansfield, Ohio scored a team-high 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting 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 6-of-7 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 5-of-9 shooting from behind the arc, and J.J. Martin had 15 markers. The Pioneers’ Tyler Hammond netted nine points and a game-high six assists, while 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 9-of-34 from the field, barely had a pulse.

“It’s not too often that you can hold John Carroll to 25 points in the first half,” VanderWal said.

Owens’ long half-court 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 deficit to eight, 74-66.

“We find a way to make things interesting, that’s for sure,” VanderWal said. “I think we just relaxed a little bit, and they started to make some shots.”

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

Ohio 61,

Western Michigan 59

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) – D.J. Cooper had 16 points and six assists, leading Ohio to a 61-59 victory over Western Michigan on Saturday.

Reggie Keely added 10 points for the Bobcats (11-5, 2-0 Mid-American), who overcame 17 turnovers and held on after leading by 12 points midway through the second half.

Jared Klein led Western Michigan (8-7, 0-1) with a career-high 18 points. Shayne Whittington added 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Broncos, who shot just 28 percent from the field.

Ohio used a 12-2 run to build a 43-31 lead with 12:47 remaining, and still led by 10 with 8:35 to go.

A 19-6 Broncos run got them within 58-55 with 2:26 left, and a steal and layup by Klein with 7 seconds to go made it 60-59. Cooper hit 1 of 2 free throws for Ohio with 6 seconds left, and a 3-point attempt by Brown at the buzzer missed for Western Michigan.

Wheeling Jesuit 106,

Ohio Valley 62

WHEELING – Ashton Brown’s game-high 24 points weren’t nearly enough for visiting Ohio Valley here Saturday as Wheeling Jesuit rolled to a 106-62 West Virginia Conference victory.

Joe Prati led six double figure Cardinal scorers with 18 points as the hosts improved to 6-6 overall and 3-5 in the WVIAC. Darin Harris had 11 points and as many boards in the triumph while teammate Eric Siefert tallied 11 markers and dished out nine assists.

OVU (2-12, 1-7), set to play Monday at Pitt-Johnstown, also received 10 points from David Sinickas.