By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
TIFFIN, Ohio – All season Capital University Men's Basketball has been able to put the ball in the hoop and in a back-and-forth contest with the Heidelberg University Student Princes on Wednesday, a proficient first-half attack from Joey Weingartner proved the difference in Cap's 71-65 win.
After scoring more than 20 points only once in Capital's past seven games, Weingartner (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) reached the 20-point plateau on an efficient 7-of-9 from the floor, including 5-of-6 from beyond the three-point arc. In the first half alone, the junior was 4-for-4 from downtown for 12 points.
Weingartner gave Capital its first lead of the contest less than three minutes in with a triple that put the Crusaders ahead 7-4. The Student Princes answered right back with a three of their own and took a 10-9 lead after Kiere Bennie nailed another one from deep. Bennie extended Heidelberg's lead to four with a layup with 14:36 left to play in the first. Those four points proved to be Heidelberg's largest lead of the game.
Weingartner's shooting couldn't be contained, though. Back-to-back triples gave Capital a 15-13 advantage with 13:49 to go until the halftime break. Those last 13 minutes though saw eight lead changes and three ties as each team converted score after score.
Bailey Croft and Dan Auble (Brecksville, Ohio/Brecksville) traded three-point baskets that meant Capital maintained an 18-16 lead but James Hanley tied the game with 9:11 left to go in the first. Layups from Austin Schreck (Erlanger, Ky./Dixie Heights), Croft and Tyler Jamison (Strongsville, Ohio/Strongsville) advanced the score to 22-20 and another Jamison layup put Cap up four.
Five points in a row from the Student Princes gave them a 25-24 advantage, Caleb Cox (Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills) took the lead right back for the Crusaders but a triple from Myron Prewitt put Heidelberg up 28-26 with five minutes to play in the first half.
Capital retook the lead with 4:15 to go thanks to Weingartner's fourth connection from deep in the half. Capital then led 34-29 thanks to two layups from Schreck but the Student Princes went on an 8-2 run to surge ahead 37-36.
A Cox lay-in and another Auble three put Capital back in front and the Crusaders went into the break leading 41-39.
The contest featured six ties and 11 total lead changes but the Crusaders never trailed in the second half.
Weingartner came out shooting in the second half and nailed a jumper on Capital's first possession and with 11 minutes to play he connected from downtown to improve to 6-of-6 shooting for 17 points. A missed free throw with 10:30 left in the game was the first time a shot off of Weingartner's hand didn't find the bottom of the net and his first missed field goal came with 6:52 remaining in the game.
Cox was Cap's second-leading scorer with 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Despite shooting only 3-of-12 from the floor, Will Hannah (Milford, Ohio/Milford) found other ways to stuff the stat sheet with eight boards and seven assists to go with his 11 points. Schreck finished with 10 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Bennie led the Student Princes with 15 points while both James Hanley and Croft chipped in 13.
Capital turned Heidelberg over 11 times in the contest, scoring 12 off of those miscues. The Crusaders only turned the ball over six times. Capital also outscored the Student Princes in the paint 28-24 and had a 9-8 advantage in second-chance points.
Capital (10-10, 6-7 Ohio Athletic Conference) will host the University of Mount Union on Saturday, Feb. 3 in The Cap Center for its next contest as the team looks to even its conference record. That game is scheduled for a 2 p.m. tipoff.