By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Capital University Men's Basketball showed on Monday night that it can win in a variety of ways, gutting out a physical 87-69 win over Westminster College (Pa.) for the team's eighth consecutive victory.
Despite what the box score showed, the Titans gave Capital all it could handle physically and made the Crusaders work for every basket. Capital led by as many as 15 early in the first half after the Crusaders jumped ahead 29-15 at the 9:15 mark. Will Hannah (Milford, Ohio/Milford) led Capital through that stretch with six points while Joey Weingartner (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) and Dan Auble (Brecksville, Ohio/Brecksville) each chipped in five. From that point on though, Westminster outscored Capital 24-11 until halftime including a 15-3 run from the 5:31 mark until the halftime buzzer sounded.
Capital went into the break with a 40-39 advantage but Westminster was shooting a better percentage than the Crusaders from the floor and from beyond the 3-point line. Weingartner and Auble each had eight points at the break while Austin Schreck (Erlanger, Ky./Dixie Heights) was held to only two. Isaac Stamatiades led all scorers with 12 points off of Westminster's bench.
The second half began with the same intensity that the first one ended with as the teams traded buckets for the opening minutes of the period. A triple from Schreck put the Crusaders up 43-39 and then a block by Cameron Caldwell sprung the sophomore guard on the fast break and he slammed it home to make Capital's lead six points.
A basket by the Titans preceded a free throw from Schreck and a triple from Weingartner but a couple consecutive makes from Westminster shrunk the Crusader lead to only one point, 49-48, with 15:54 left to play.
After feeling the Titans right on their heels though, the Crusaders stepped up their offensive game to outscore Westminster 38-21 the rest of the way. A free throw and lay in from Caleb Cox (Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills) bumped the lead back up to four and a jumper from Joe Hartmann made it six.
At 56-50, Schreck showed why he is one of the most feared offensive weapons in the Ohio Athletic Conference with six consecutive points on a made three-ball and by converting an and-one opportunity after going to the rim with authority, making the basket, absorbing contact and then calmly splashing home the free throw.
After trading baskets again for the next several minutes, the Crusaders closed the game on a 20-8 run after Westminster drew the score to 67-61 with 7:03 to play. Schreck scored eight of those Capital points and finished with 20 in the contest on 7-of-10 shooting with nine rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block without a single turnover. This was Schreck's third 20-point game in a row. Weingartner contributed 16 points while Auble scored 13 off the bench.
As a team, Capital shot 6-for-11 from downtown in the second half and finished with 10 made triples to Westminster's four. Capital's defense limited the Titans to 26-of-66 shooting from the floor overall and forced 16 Westminster turnovers. Capital scored 18 points off of those miscues. Capital also had a 21-11 lead in fastbreak points and had 15 assists to Westminster's seven.
The win was Capital's eighth triumph in a row, the team's longest winning streak since the 2012-13 season when the Crusaders also had an eight-game unbeaten run. The 2012-13 team also had a nine-game winning streak which this year's team will look to match on Wednesday, Dec. 19. Wilmington College will come to town representing Capital's last opponent until 2019 in an OAC bout. Tip off in The Capital Center is scheduled for 7 p.m.