By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The nationally-ranked Capital University men's basketball team took care of business and earned its 10th win in conference play on Wednesday night following its 89-69 victory over Muskingum University. Caleb Cox paced the Crusaders with another double-double, while Joey Weingartner continued to put up points at will by leading all scorers.
Muskingum (7-11, 3-8 OAC) played the first 12 minutes of the contest tight with the Crusaders, trailing by just two points with eight minutes remaining in the opening half. That is where the Crusaders made their first move to separate from the Fighting Muskies. Capital scored five unanswered points when seniors Gavin Wildermuth and Joey Weingartner (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) hit back-to-back field goals, Weingartner's from distance.
With Capital's lead at seven, junior guard Dan Auble drained a 3-pointer to garner Cap's first double-digit lead, 39-29, with 2:28 to go in the first half. Weingartner continued to rain down jumpers and increased the lead to 13 with his second of five 3-pointers, but Muskingum trimmed the Crusader lead to 11 as the first half ended.
Senior Caleb Cox (Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills) made a statement with his first-half performance after nearly accomplishing a double-double in the opening 20 minutes. He finished the first half with 10 points behind a perfect 5-for-5 from the field while pounding the inside, and nine rebounds.
Weingartner led all scorers in the second half with 13 of his game-high 19 points, but the Muskies stole the show early cut the lead to single digits multiple times before Cap's final breakaway. Near the midway point of the second half, sophomore Joe Hartmann went inside for two and senior Will Hannah hit a triple to increase Capital's lead to 14 points, 66-52.
The Muskies came back to cut the lead to single digits for a third time, but they never got any closer than eight points. A 10-2 run spurred by another five-point spurt by Weingartner made the score 77-64 with 5:03 remaining, and then Cap's free throw shooting carried them the rest of the way. Cap went 6-of-6 from the charity stripe down the stretch to help the Purple and White run away with a 20-point win, 89-69.
The 23rd-ranked Crusaders (15-3, 10-1 OAC) were led by Weingartner's 19 points, but Cox's fourth double-double of the season popped off the stat sheet. Cox finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds plus one steal.
Cap remains at the top of the Ohio Athletic Conference in a tie for first place with No. 10 Marietta College (16-2, 10-1 OAC) heading into this weekend's game against archrival Otterbein University. Otterbein is currently 6-12 overall and 3-8 in the OAC and comes off a 96-67 loss at Marietta. They will host Capital at The Rike Center on Saturday night, and is set for a 7 p.m. tipoff.