By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Despite a slight offensive stall in the second half, Capital University Men's Basketball used a strong start to Wednesday night's contest to defeat Muskingum University, 86-78, at The Capital Center. Austin Schreck's 15 second-half points and some timely defense toward the end of the game helped Capital seal its ninth win of the season and bring their overall record back to a .500 mark, overall.
Capital (9-9, 5-6 OAC) started the game on a 9-0 run after junior Will Hannah (Milford, Ohio/Milford) hit a 3-pointer and then followed that up with two steals, which directly led to another four Crusader points. Both teams then started scoring at will, totaling 32 made field goals and 83 points between both teams. Junior Joey Weingartner (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) scored 15 of his 16 points and nailed three triples in the first half while also generated three steals. Freshman guard Cameron Caldwell (Westerville, Ohio/Westerville South) got in on the deep game and extended Cap's lead to 12 with 6:28 remaining then continued his offensive outburst with back-to-back buckets, including an and-one conversion added two more shortly after to make it 40-21.
Capital comfortably took a 17-point lead into the locker room, but the Muskies took advantage of multiple periods during the second half in which Capital's shooting percentages dipped. Muskingum's Marcus Dempsey continued to shine as the team's go-to guy and tallied 19 second-half points to keep the Muskies in the game. Dempsey led a tally that cut the Capital lead to 12 before teammate Devon Peart connected on a pair of shot to cut the deficit to eight with 3:15 to go.
While the Muskies began to heat up at the right time Capital's offense struggled. The Crusaders were stuck on 81 points for more than four minutes without committing a turnover. Peart continued to chop into the Capital advantage with a three ball that made it a two-possession game. Dempsey hit a pair of free throws to make it a three-point event with 1:24 to go. Jalen Page fouled Weingartner, which led to the junior splitting a one-and-one chance. The missed shot yielded an opportunity for Muskingum to make things interesting, but Paige missed a three on the other end and the rebound went to Capital. Hannah hit his free throws to extend Cap's lead to six points and Caldwell recorded a big block on a corner 3-point attempt by Justin Cork. On the next Musky scoring attempt, Caldwell came up with the defensive rebound following a miss, was promptly fouled and then hit two freebies to put the game out of reach for good.
All five of Capital's starters finished the game with 10 or more points in the win over Muskingum. The bench accounted for just nine points. Austin Schreck (Erlonger, Ky./Dixie Heights) led all Capital scorers with 22 points on 7of-14 shooting, and the junior added four rebounds, three assists and one block to his line. Caleb Cox (Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills) led the Crusaders with seven rebounds and two blocks in addition to his 10 points. Hannah ended the night with 19 points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
Dempsey led all scorers with 36 points on 11-of-18 shooting while also adding seven rebounds. He also committed a game-high eight turnovers. Peart gave him the most help after finishing with 22 points.
While Muskingum (7-11, 5-6 OAC) had a plus-three rebounding advantage, Capital led the way with 36 points in the paint to the Muskies' 20.
The Crusaders will look for their third consecutive win this Saturday, Jan. 27, when they hit the road to play Ohio Northern University (12-6, 7-4 OAC) in Ada, Ohio. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.