By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Capital University Men's Basketball has now won six straight games for the first time since the 2012-13 season after the Crusaders defeated Denison University on Wednesday night 95-68 to improve to 7-2 overall this year. Capital dominated the game on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor and never trailed in the contest, the third game this season in which Capital never trailed. The Crusaders also played a game where their only deficit was 2-0 after the opposing team made the opening basket.
On Wednesday though, Capital jumped out to 6-0 lead thanks to two layups from Caleb Cox (Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills) and one from Cameron Caldwell (Westerville, Ohio/Westerville South). The two quick buckets for Cox were signs of things to come for the senior big as he finished with a game-high 29 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the floor and 11-of-13 shooting from the free throw line. He also led all players with eight rebounds and a career-high eight steals. The 29 points were one shy of his career best.
After Denison scored its first basket, the Crusaders went on another 6-0 run to open up their first double-digit lead of the contest. The Big Red cut its deficit to four points at 12-8 but Capital embarked on yet another 6-0 spurt to lead 18-8 and took a 25-8 lead before Denison scored again. Cox had six points in the 13-0 run and fellow senior Joey Weingartner (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) had the other seven. Denison then went on a 7-0 run of its own but Capital kept the Big Red at arm's-length for the rest of the first half and led 47-32 at the break.
While Denison shot an acceptable 44.4 percent from the field in the opening period, it could do nothing to stop Capital's offense which went 18-for-33 from the floor and also made 9-of-13 free throws. Cox finished the first half with 16 points and Weingartner had nine.
The second half was much of the same for the two teams as Capital continued to build its lead. The Crusaders improved their already scorching shooting in the final 20 minutes, going 16-of-26 from the field, 61.5 percent. Capital's largest lead of the game came at the 3:39 mark when the team led by 32, 92-60.
After scoring only four points in the first half, senior guard Austin Schreck (Erlanger, Ky./Dixie Heights) exploded for 17 in the second and went 6-of-7 from the floor with two triple and three made free throws to finish with 21 points as the game's second-leading scorer. Schreck also had five assists, five steals and three rebounds. Weingartner finished the game with 15 points and Caldwell scored 10. Will Hannah (Milford, Ohio/Milford) was the only Capital starter not to reach double-digit points although he finished with eight and chipped in six rebounds.
As a team, the Crusaders shot 34-of-59 as a team for a 57.6 percent success rate from the field and the team was 7-of 13 from deep. Capital forced 22 Denison turnovers while committing only 10 itself and had a 28-11 lead in points off of turnovers. Capital also had 20 fastbreak points to Denison's two.
The Crusaders will now look to extend their winning streak to seven with another Ohio Athletic Conference matchup on the horizon and an away contest at Baldwin Wallace University on Saturday, Dec. 15. As previously mention, the team's current six-game romp is the longest since the 2012-13 season when the team won eight in a row from Jan. 23-Feb. 16. The 2012-13 team also had a nine-game winning streak from Dec. 1-Jan. 12 and went undefeated in January en route to a 19-7 overall record and OAC regular season championship. This year's Crusaders will tip off against the Yellow Jackets at 3 p.m. this Saturday.