COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Capital University men's basketball team set the tone from the start with a strong shooting performance that lead to a double-digit win over the Otterbein University Cardinals. The Crusaders were paced by Mark Minch, once again, as they went on to defeat their arch rivals on a jam-packed, fun-filled Saturday afternoon inside The Capital Center.
From the start, Capital (12-11, 8-8 OAC) had control of the game and rode an early lead all the way to victory. By the midway point of the first half, the Crusaders had already built up a 10-plus point lead behind a shooting effort that eclipsed 40 percent from the field, as a team. The ball was evenly distributed, and Capital committed just one turnover throughout the entire first half.
With the score 8-7 in favor of the Crusaders, the hosts then went on an 8-0 run capped off by a 3-pointer by freshman Joey Weingartner (Centerville, Ohio). Capital then went on to score five of the next eight points with buckets by fellow freshmen Caleb Cox (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Gavin Wildermuth (Botkins, Ohio). That lead extended to 16 points with 5:08 remaining when the rain drops kept falling for Capital, this time off of the fingertips of junior Curt Geise (Delphos, Ohio). Capital took a 37-25 lead into the locker room, and then replicated its offensive output in the second half.
Fifteen of senior Mark Minch's 23 points came in the second half, where he shot 5-of-9 from the field and added five boards. He and fellow senior Michael Green (Dublin, Ohio) had solid days, combining for 34 of Capital's 76 points on the day.
The Cardinals were unable to close any ground on the Crusaders over the course of the final 20 minutes. Capital's largest lead came towards the end of the game, when it reached 23 points with less than three minutes to go.
Fourteen Otterbein turnovers resulted in 20 Capital points, while the Crusaders took care of the rock by just committed six miscues. Capital shot 45.2 percent from the field, as a team, while holding Otterbein shot a shade less than 40 percent over the course of the game.
Green finished with 11 points, four rebounds, two assists, and one steal. Capital's bench came to play, scoring 22 points. Weingartner led that effort with five, and seven different players chipping in.
Otterbein's Jake Phillis led the Cardinals with 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting and 4-of-5 from behind the arc.
In addition to the game, Capital Athletics' Hall of Fame Class of 2015 was introduced to the crowd at halftime. The collection of inductees included Rachel Beecraft Barends '05 (track & field), Geron Tate '03 (men's basketball), Gerald Philhower '71 (football), and Kelly Kerscher Yost '95 (women's basketball).
Capital will close out its home regular season schedule with a showdown with Heidelberg University, in a crucial conference matchup with serious postseason seeding implications. As it stands today, Capital trails Baldwin Wallace University by one game in the OAC standings, as both teams battle it out for the No. 4 seed in the upcoming OAC Men's Basketball Tournament. Capital and Ohio Northern both share 8-8 conference records.
Both teams have two games yet to play over the next week. Capital and Heidelberg (12-11, 7-9 OAC) will tip off at 7 p.m. inside The Capital Center this Wednesday night.