By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
WILMINGTON, Ohio – Capital University Men's Basketball showed flashes of its offensive skill on Wednesday night and proved how tough of a team it is to put away, but unfortunately for the Crusaders, they could not overcome an early deficit in the team's 86-67 loss to Wilmington College.
The first 10 minutes of play were not kind to the Crusaders as Wilmington opened up a 25-6 lead right out of the starting gates. Capital refused to give up, going on an 11-0 run of its own to make the score 25-17. Back-to-back-to-back layups from Cameron Caldwell (Westerville, Ohio/Westerville South), Austin Schreck (Erlanger, Ky./Dixie Heights) and Caleb Cox (Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills) got the run going for the Crusaders and then two free throws and a three-pointer from senior guard Brennan Czuchran (Rayland, Ohio/Buckeye Local) capped off the scoring tear.
Wilmington was able to connect on two free throws to end the drought but the Crusaders kept their feet on the gas, cutting the deficit to only three with 3:37 to play in the first half, 27-24. Cox scored four on that 7-2 run and Schreck and Caldwell each found the bottom of the net as well.
Just as Capital had found an offensive groove, the Quakers found their shots at the end of the half and went into the break with a 38-27 lead.
The teams traded baskets for the first several minutes of the second half and Capital kept chipping away, closing the gap to five points with 14 minutes left to play and again with 12 to go. The gap hovered between five and ten points for the next few minutes as the teams answered almost every opposing score. The rest of the way though, Wilmington outscored Capital 37-23, including 19-7 in the final five minutes of the game.
Schreck finished with 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting to lead the Crusaders and Cox added 13 points and seven rebounds. Christian Jones led Wilmington with 19 points and Andrew Russell chipped in 16, 14 of which came in the second half.
As a team, Capital shot 45.6 percent compared to Wilmington's 48 but the Crusaders only converted on four of their 16 attempts from beyond the arc. The Quakers also made 20 more free throws than Capital and hit 31 of their 34 shots at the charity stripe.
With only one game remaining in the regular season, Capital is tied for sixth in the league with Wilmington and Muskingum University with a 7-10 Ohio Athletic Conference Record. The Crusaders will host John Carroll University in The Capital Center on Saturday, Feb. 17 to try and clinch their spot in the OAC Tournament and improve their seeding. The game will tip off at 1 p.m. following a ceremony for the team's lone senior, Czuchran.