COLUMBUS, Ohio – In another edition of the best rivalry in Ohio, rivals Capital University and Otterbein University squared off in the first of two meetings schedule for this men's basketball season. A major run in the second half guided the Purple and White to its second conference victory after it defeated the Cardinals, 75-67, on Saturday afternoon.
After a quick 4-0 jolt out of the gate, the Cardinals quickly came back to make the score level, inducing a blow-for-blow stretch over the first nine minutes of play. Capital made its first real push for separation nearing the midway point of the first half when Otterbein grew careless with the basketball and turned the ball over twice, each resulting in a 2-point bucket. After the spurt, Capital held an 18-13 lead with 10 minutes to go in the opening half.
Though Ganiyu Yahaya (Allen, Ky.) added a third straight bucket as a part of a 6-0 run, Otterbein came back and made it a one-point affair when they cashed in a turnover on the other end followed by a Nick Nossaman 3-pointer with 5:47 remaining, prompting a Capital timeout.
Capital then broke out for another four-point swing when sophomore Will Hannah (Milford, Ohio) hit a layup, followed by Tyler Jamison's drive to the bucket following an Otterbein turnover. With a 31-26 lead, Otterbein stormed back and seemed to have an answer for every Capital attack. The lead grew to seven short after Tyrel Jackson (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman) dropped five straight points. Otterbein's Andrew Valeri hit the last bucket of the half, a 3-pointer, to bring Capital's lead to just four points heading into the half, 38-34.
Offense dominated the first half with each team shooting north of 50 percent from all areas of the court. Otterbein hit a remarkable 68.4 percent of their field goal attempts while Capital countered with a 58.6 percent shooting mark. Otterbein's 3-point game kept them close after they finished the first half going 5-for-6 from behind the arc. Capital had good success from deep range, as well, hitting four out of nine attempts. The difference was on the boards where Capital held the advantage by a multiple of two, 12-6, which resulted in an 11-2 lead in second-chance points.
Otterbein made up the difference quickly, scoring the half's first four points to tie it up at 38 each. The Cardinals continued their hot shooting ways with a 12-0 run that built momentum up on the visitor's side. However, Brennan Czuchran broke the run and started to sway the pendulum the other way with a three ball with 10:25 remaining in the second half. That three sparked the run that switched the lead for the final time and broke the game open for Cap.
The Crusaders' defense held the Cardinals unsuccessful on six 3-point tries and meanwhile, the offense roared for 18 of the next 20 points scored. While Otterbein was cold from behind the arc, Capital's Tyrel Jackson hit back-to-back treys to cap off the surge. With buckets from Dan Auble, Austin Schrek and Jamison, Cap built a seven-point lead with 1:52 to go. a deficit the Cardinals were unable to overcome.
While both teams cooled from the field in the second half, both still managed to shoot better than 40 percent. While the 3-point shooting of the Cardinals went silent in the second (2-11), Capital maintained its consistency (5-9) and continued its dominance on the boards, outrebounding the Cardinals, 21-7.
For the game, both teams shot 50 percent or better from the field and Cap hit a season-best 50 percent of its shots from 3-point range. Jackson led that effort, hitting 3-of-4, and finished with a team-best 17 points. He was one of three Crusaders with double-digit point totals, joining Auble (14) and Jamison (10).
Jamison tied a career high with 10 points and set a new personal best with four assists to accompany his eight rebounds.
Capital's bench came to life, scoring 35 of the team's 75 points.
The Cardinals (2-6, 0-3 OAC) were led by Bryan Mackenzie's 21 points on 7-of-8 shooting, including 6-of-7 from the charity stripe. Only Matt Hughes (10) scored 10 or more points.
In its next action, Capital (6-3, 2-1 OAC) will host Denison University on Wednesday, Dec. 14 inside The Capital Center. Fans can receive free admission with their participation in Cap Athletics' Holiday Food Drive, which will benefit the Lutheran Social Services Food Pantry in Columbus. With the donation of a nonperishable food item, admission will be waived for fans on either side.