By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
COLUMBUS, Ohio – After Capital University Men's Basketball earned the right to home-court advantage throughout the upcoming Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament, Capital head coach Damon Goodwin told the team that the "second season" is about to begin. The Crusaders finished the regular season with a 14-4 overall record and a share of the conference's regular-season title and will welcome eight-seed Muskingum University to The Capital Center on Tuesday, Feb. 19 with tipoff set for 8 p.m.
HOW THEY GOT HERE
Capital, the 16th-ranked team in the country finished the regular season with 19 wins, the team's most since 2012-13 when the Crusaders went 19-7 and were OAC regular season champs. Capital dropped two of its first three games this year before ripping off a 12-game winning streak. The Crusaders were undefeated in the month of December and were 7-1 in January. During that period, the Crusaders beat nationally-ranked Marietta College twice while climbing into the D3hoop.com Top 25 themselves for the first time since 2008-09.
Muskingum finished the regular season with an 8-17 overall record and a 4-14 OAC mark in what was a year of winning and losing streaks for the Fighting Muskies. After opening the year with a win, Muskingum won two in a row before dropping the next three. Muskingum suffered a season-long seven-game losing streak from mid-January through early February and then dropped its final two games of the regular season. The Fighting Muskies finished a game ahead of Ohio Northern University and Otterbein University.
Capital beat Muskingum twice during the regular season. In the first meeting on Dec. 6, the Crusaders won 70-62 in New Concord and Capital won 89-69 at home.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Capital ranks third in the conference in points per game with 80.6 while Muskingum is eighth with 77.3 per game. Capital is the best defensive team in the conference though and allows only 70.0 points per contest. The Fighting Muskies also rank eighth on the defensive side of the ball and allow their opponents to score 81.3 points per contest.
The boards could be where the Crusaders have a sizeable advantage as Capital leads the OAC with a +6.8 rebounding margin and Muskingum's -4.7 margin is the second-worst in the league.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
The Crusaders have four players averaging double figures in points per game and are led by senior guard Austin Schreck (Erlanger, Ky./Dixie Heights) at 16.8 points per game. He is also second on the team with 6.2 rebounds per game and second on the team with 2.8 assists per game. Schreck is one of only two players in the conference in the top-10 in points, rebounds and assists per game.
For Muskingum, senior guard Devon Peart leads the team with 14.3 points after leading-scorer Marcus Dempsey played only six games this year. Peart's backcourt partner Jalen Paige leads the team with 3.8 assists, the fourth-best mark in the OAC.
Ticket prices (prices are for full night, doubleheader)
Non-OAC student: $5.00
Senior (62+ years): $8.00
OAC student: Free
OAC lifetime passes will be honored, OAC season passes are not valid for the tournament
Capital Visitor's Guide (parking, directions, hospitality, dining options, etc.)
Live stats (coming soon)