Quakers lose first-place showdown to John Carroll
Blue Streaks win, 82-64
January 7, 2012
Antonio Bowman drives for 2 of his game-high 18 points during Wilmington's loss to John Carroll.
Wilmington College was unable to make a hot start stand as the Quakers fell to John Carroll, 82-64, in Ohio Athletic Conference action at Fred Raizk Arena Saturday afternoon.
The loss drops Wilmington to 5-2 and knocked the Quakers out of the OAC top spot. Wilmington is 6-6 overall. John Carroll improved to 5-1 in the conference, 10-2 for the season.
Wilmington came roaring out of the gate to take a 13-2 lead, but two quick fouls registered against starters Malcolm Heard II (Wilmington) and R.J. Leppert (Liberty Township/Lakota East) opened the door for a Blue Streak rally.
John Carroll went on a 19-6 run that was capped by a Patrick Sweeney lay-in that put the Streaks on top, 21-19, with 10:31 to play in the half.
“Obviously, early foul trouble hurt us, but we have to do a better job of playing through adversity,” Wilmington head coach K.C. Hunt said. “Foul trouble, injuries are all part of basketball, and we have to do a better job of being tougher and playing through it.”
Wilmington seemed to have things stabilized and took a 26-23 lead when Tim Pfeiffer (Clinton/Akron Manchester) knocked down a 3-pointer at 8:22.
Things stayed close until the final 3 minutes of the half, when John Carroll scored nine unanswered points to take a 40-30 lead at the break.
“We have to finish halves better,” Hunt said. “That hurt, but we felt we were all right. We just needed to go play the way we did the first 10 minutes of the game, which was fly around with all kinds of energy and dictate the tempo. We also needed to attack them more.”
Wilmington cut the deficit to eight points on numerous occasions, but couldn’t get the key play at the key moment to crest the hill.
“The whole second half, we needed one stop, one big shot to put us over the edge,” Hunt said. “We never could get that one critical stop or basket that we needed to gain the momentum to win the game.”
Heard’s tip-in a 1:26 reduced John Carroll’s lead to 70-64, but the Streaks streaked again at the end of a half — this time to the tune of 12-0 to seal the win and seize first place in the conference standings.
Antonio Bowman (Columbus/Whetstone) led the Quakers with 18 points. Brandon Candella added 14 points and pulled down game-high eight rebounds. Heard and Leppert finished with 11 and nine points, respectively.
“Brandon Candella was excellent today. His energy and toughness were evident the whole game. R.J. Leppert also gave us a lot of energy. We just have to be better as a group of 20 if we are going to win these types of games.”
The Quakers will host Ohio Northern at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. The Polar Bears lost at home to Mount Union, 71-66, Saturday.