By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Capital University Men's Basketball took the court in The Capital Center for the final time in the 2018-19 regular season in sole possession of first place in the Ohio Athletic Conference and ensured they would remain atop the standings with an 81-76 win over Baldwin Wallace University on Saturday.
In addition to serving as the home finale, the Crusaders (19-4, 14-2 OAC) celebrated the careers of five seniors, all of whom played a role in Capital's win.
Capital scored the first four points of the game and built up a quick 8-2 lead with baskets from seniors Austin Schreck (Erlanger, Ky./Dixie Heights), Caleb Cox (Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills), Joey Weingartner (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) and Will Hannah (Milford, Ohio/Milford).
The Yellow Jackets then tied the game at 10 before the Crusaders scored six unanswered points to retake control. The two teams then traded baskets for the remainder of the half and Capital went into halftime leading 37-34.
Cox led Capital with 10 points in the opening 20 minutes and added seven rebounds. Hannah scored seven first-half points while Schreck and Weingartner each contributed six points.
As the second half got underway, the Crusaders began to build their lead. A layup from Dan Auble (Brecksville, Ohio/Brecksville) and a triple from Weingartner to start the period prompted a timeout from BW but a Cox layup right after the stoppage increased Capital's lead to 44-34 less than two minutes in. The Yellow Jackets then scored five straight of their own before Weingartner, Schreck and fellow senior Gavin Wildermuth (Botkins, Ohio/Jackson Center) combined for a 6-0 run.
Capital's offense continued to lay it on over the next five minutes and built up a game-high 17-point lead at the 9:52 mark, 64-47. A 15-6 BW run over the next five minutes cut Capital's lead to 70-62 as the Yellow Jackets chipped away at the Crusaders at the end. With less than a minute to play, Jay Battle nailed a deep 3-pointer to make it a four-point game, 77-73. Three free throws from Schreck increased Capital's lead to seven again but another triple from Michael Quiring kept BW's hopes alive with 15 seconds to play. With only seven seconds remaining in the game, the Yellow Jackets came up with a steal but could not turn it into any points after a miss, offensive rebound and another miss. Cox grabbed the rebound off of the second misfire and clinched the game at the free throw line.
The senior forward led Capital with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor and grabbed 12 rebounds for his 10th double-double of the season. Schreck scored 17 points and grabbed eight boards while Weingartner scored 14. Hannah stuffed the stat sheet with 12 points, six rebounds and five assists.
As a team, Capital shot 30-of-59 from the floor while holding BW to only 38.8 percent shooting. The Yellow Jackets though went 15-of-39 from deep compared to 4-for-12 for the Crusaders. Capital controlled the boards with a 46-33 advantage and had 48 points in the paint to BW's 16. The Crusaders also had a 17-3 lead in fastbreak points. The Yellow Jackets never led in the contest.
With only two games remaining in the regular season, Capital leads the University of Mount Union by a game and both Marietta College and Wilmington College by two games. The Crusaders have clinched a top-four seed in the upcoming OAC Tournament and will host a first-round game but will have to wait to clinch the regular season title. Capital travels to Wilmington on Wednesday, Feb. 13 before visiting Mount Union in the regular season finale on Saturday, Feb. 16. Tipoff between Capital and Wilmington is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday night.