WESTERVILLE, Ohio – Despite taking a six-point advantage into the locker room, the Capital University men's basketball team dropped an 87-78 decision to Wittenberg University in its season opener held Saturday night. The game was the first of two as part of the OAC/NCAC Challenge, which will conclude next Tuesday evening at Ohio Wesleyan University.
Capital (0-1) got off to a hot start backed by a strong debut for senior Mark Minch (Cincinnati, Ohio), who played in his first game as a Crusader. Minch rattled off 16 first-half points shooting just under 50 percent (6-13) from the field and chipping in four free-throw makes. He also served as the team's leading rebounder with five first-half boards.
Despite its 39-33 lead at halftime, Capital allowed 54 points to the Tigers in the second half. Wittenberg sank 63.6 percent of its field goal attempts in the final 20 and also sent the Tigers to the free throw line a total of 34 times. Wittenberg not only shot well from the floor, but connected on 23-of-34 attempts from the charity stripe, led by Jaelin Williams who went 10-for-13 from the line. He led all scorers in the second half and shared the game lead with 21 points, overall.
Wittenberg (1-0) went on a 13-2 run early in the second half to begin its separation from the Crusaders though Capital stormed back to tie the game at 64-64 with seven minutes to go. The Tigers scored eight of the next 10 points, capped off by Garrett Dorfman's 3-pointer to extend the team's lead to five points. Capital never recovered and began to struggle shooting, missing five straight field goals at one point while the Tigers built a 10point lead down the stretch.
Freshman Will Hannah (Milford, Ohio) and junior Curt Geise (Delphos, Ohio) played significant minutes off of the bench and combined to put up 31 points. Hannah in his first collegiate game scored 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting, including a 4-for-8 performance from behind the arc. Geise scrapped for 15 points and six rebounds.
Minch recorded a double-double in his first outing with the team, adding 10 rebounds to his 21 points.
Wittenberg featured four double-digit scorers including Williams (21), Cody Phillippi (16), Dorfman (16), and Shane Edwards (12). Edwards also led all players with 14 rebounds on the night.
Capital will play Ohio Wesleyan in Delaware, Ohio on Tuesday, Nov. 17 as part of the second leg of the NCAC/OAC Challenge. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.