Offense Aplenty in Heartbreaking Loss in Alliance

Photo Credit: Joe Maiorana
Photo Credit: Joe Maiorana

ALLIANCE, Ohio – The last shot in regulation was inches away from sending Capital University and the University of Mount Union in overtime. However, a toe touching the line on the Crusaders' last field goal landed them one point short in Saturday's 97-96 loss to the Purple Raiders, inside The MAAC.

Capital (10-8, 6-5 OAC) erased a 16-point halftime deficit by shooting an outstanding 62.5 percent from field-goal range and 4-of-9 (.444) from 3-point range in the second half. Down by two points, Capital drove and missed a two-pointer with 32 seconds left, but Mount Union (13-5, 9-2 OAC) turned the ball over to give Capital a second chance. Following another missed trey, Capital put Cody Dillon on the free throw line, where he split the pair, giving Capital one last chance to tie the game with eight seconds remaining. Curt Geise drove down the floor and kicked out a pass to senior Michael Green (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman) in the far corner. His shot went up and tickled the twine before the buzzer sounded, but his foot touched the arc and thus was called a two-point shot, leaving Capital one point short of tying the game as time expired.

The Crusaders' comeback was a slow and methodical one which spanned over the first 9:14 before they tied it back up. Geise hit a triple to give Capital a three-point lead, 91-88, with 3:05 to go in the second half. That served as their largest lead of the second half before Jake Jacubec hit two consecutive field goals and two free throws for six straight points, tying the game heading into the final 1:38. Mount's final three points came on made free throws with the go-ahead makes made by Jarrett Ruffin. Capital then missed its next two shots, setting up the dramatic ending.

Senior guard Mark Minch (Cincinnati, Ohio) had an incredible day offensively and for the second straight game posted a new career high in points scored. Minch tied a career high in field goals made (14) but blew up his career best in points, scoring 38 against the Purple Raiders. His previous best was 32, which he put up against Wilmington College just three days ago. He was also a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line, brought down five rebounds, dished out four assists and had a game-high six steals.

Green also exceeded his career high in total points, scoring 30 on 12-of-21 shooting from the field. His previous best was recorded two games ago at Ohio Northern University when he scored 29 points.

Of Capital's 96 points, 68 came from the duo of Minch and Green, while only five came from its bench.

Jacubec led the Purple Raiders with 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting including a 5-for-6 show from 3-point range. He was one of five Mount Union players to score in double digits.

Despite the loss, it now serves as the third time Capital has played a top-three team in the OAC and lost by four or fewer points.

Capital will play a second road game at Marietta College this Wednesday, Feb. 3. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.