COLUMBUS, Ohio – After an undesirable and slow start out of the gates, the Capital University men's basketball team did a 180-degree turn around to erase a 21-point deficit and complete an incredible comeback against No. 16 Denison University. Capital knocked off the previously unbeaten Big Red, 84-75, on Wednesday night inside The Capital Center to improve to 7-3 overall and gain some much-needed momentum heading into this Saturday's conference matchup against Baldwin Wallace University.
Capital began the contest by falling into a large hole, courtesy of some hot shooting by the Big Red, a cast of turnovers and the Crusaders' own struggles to get the ball too fall through the bucket. In the first 9:30 of the game, Denison shot out to a 16-2 run despite missing five of their first six shots. Capital also committed a trio of turnovers, and in the meantime Denison built its lead to 14 points.
Shortly after crossing the midway point, Denison grew its lead to 21 points but that is when the Crusaders began to turn it up and chip into the Big Red's lead. In the final three minutes, Capital spread the wealth and saw four different players score 11 points, and their shooters go 3-for-3 from behind the arc. Senior guard Tyrel Jackson (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman) stole the ball away and went in for a fast-break bucket. Sophomore guard Joey Weingartner hit his only three of the game, and then was followed by treys by junior Brennan Czuchran and freshman Dan Auble (Brecksville, Ohio), whose shot went in three seconds before both teams went into the locker room.
resilience considering its start to the contest. After hitting just one of their first 11 field goal attempts, Capital did an about-face and finished the half by knocking down 13 of their last 22 (.590) field goal attempts.
The beginning of the second half was all Cap as the momentum continued to drastically switch sides. Capital not only erased the deficit but took the lead for the first time in the game near the midway point. Jackson turned it up to another level with eight points in the opening six minutes, including a pair of 3-pointers. Auble tacked on another three, that which trimmed the advantage to just two points. The three ball continued to be especially deadly for Capital and with a huge make from outside by Wiengartner, the lead was Capital's. On the Crusaders' next possession, Jackson added to that lead with his second 3-pointer since the start of the half.
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Denison's field goal shooting percentage dropped steadily as the second half waned on, especially its 3-point shooting percentage. Once close to 50 percent, it dropped to under 35 when they needed it most. The Big Red also committed seven turnovers in the time it took Capital to build its lead up to 15 points. Freshman Ganiyu Yahaha took the crowd's breath away with another air defying dunk through traffic, and Auble continued to pile on points, ending the game with a career-high 16 and 13 of those coming in the second half.
Denison made it interesting when in the final minutes they went on a 10-0 run to make for a five-point affair with 47 seconds to go in regulation, 78-73. However, Capital did its job at the free throw line and held off the Big Red en route to an 84-75 victory.
Jackson ended with a career day shooting after dropping a new career-high 31 points on 12-of-19 shooting from the field. He went 5-for-9 from distance, and added five rebounds and four steals to aid in the Crusaders' comeback win.
On the defensive end, freshman Tyler Jamison (Strongsville, Ohio) had 10 rebounds and tied a career-high with four blocks.
On the other side of the court, Jett Speelman paced Denison with 20 points and eight rebounds. He was limited to just six points in the second half. David Meurer closed with 16 while being held to just 6-for-15 shooting.
Denison (8-1) entered the contest ranked No. 16 by D3Hoops.com and was the last remaining unbeaten team in the Great Lakes Region. Capital, who received votes in the Week 1 D3Hoops.com Top-25 Poll improved to 7-3 overall after its second win over a North Coast Athletic Conference school. The Crusaders have now won three straight. They look to match their four-game win streak that began the season this Saturday when the Crusaders host OAC foe Baldwin Wallace University. Gametime is set for 3 p.m.