By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Capital University Men's Basketball will have to settle for only one Ohio Athletic Conference title in 2018-19 as the Crusaders bowed out of the OAC Tournament on Thursday with an 81-67 loss to Baldwin Wallace University. The Crusaders were the tournament's top seed after earning a share of the OAC's regular season title and the Yellow Jackets were seeded fifth.
The Crusaders were hot to start the game and built up a 23-8 lead after 12 minutes but BW closed the gap to only six points with an 11-2 run that made the score 25-19 with 4:07 left in the first half. Austin Schreck (Erlanger, Ky./Dixie Heights) kept the Crusaders ahead though and Capital found its groove again to end the half up 33-25 but it was clear that the Yellow Jackets had an upset on their minds.
The Yellow Jackets scored the first four points of the second half to cut Capital's lead to four and Luke Schaefer hit a triple after a Dan Auble (Brecksville, Ohio/Brecksville) layup to make it a three-point game. Back-to-back baskets from Caleb Cox (Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills) and Will Hannah (Milford, Ohio/Milford) increased the lead to seven but BW immediately responded with two makes of their own. The two teams traded baskets until BW converted a free throw and Tyler Colombo laid it in to tie the game at 46 with 9:29 to play. That was the first tie since 2-2.
Hannah regained the lead with a 3-pointer but a basket and made free throw from Kyle Nader quickly knotted the score again. Following a timeout, Joey Weingartner (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) hit a layup but Michael Quiring again tied the game. On BW's next possession, Colombo made one of two free throws to put the Yellow Jackets ahead 52-51 with 7:44 to play, BW's first lead of the night.
Schreck briefly regained the lead for Capital with a jumper but Jay Battle took it right back for Baldwin Wallace on BW's next possession. Schaefer hit another shot to increase BW's lead to three but Weingartner answered with a basket of his own. Over the last five minutes of the game though, the Yellow Jackets went on a 25-14 run to seal it.
Nader and Quiring hit a layup and triple, respectively, to make it a six-point game and Quiring made another one from downtown after Schreck scored a bucket with 3:43 left that made it 64-57. Schreck came down on the other end and scored to cut the deficit to five but Quiring hit his third consecutive triple to bump the lead up to eight again, 67-59. With time running out, Capital resorted to fouling down the stretch but BW was able to knock down their free throws and ice the game at the line. Baldwin Wallace shot 68 percent from the field in the second half and were 5-of-10 from beyond the arc over the last 20 minutes.
Quiring led the Yellow Jackets with 16 points, 14 of which came in the second half. Quiring was 4-for-4 from the field, 3-for-3 from deep, in the second period. Jay Battle finished with 13 points, six rebounds and four assists for BW.
The Crusaders were led by Schreck's 20 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals in one of his best all-around games of the season. Weingartner scored 13 points and Cox narrowly missed another double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds.
For the game, BW shot 51.9 percent from the field while Capital shot only 41.0 percent.
With the loss, Capital's overall record moves to 20-7. The Crusaders will now wait for a decision on an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Crusaders are currently the third-ranked team in the Great Lakes Region and received the 26th-most votes in the latest D3hoops.com national poll. The 2018-19 tournament field will be announced on Monday, Feb. 25 on NCAA.com. If this is the end of Capital's season, the Crusaders achieved their first 20-win season since 2008-09 and first OAC regular season title since 2012-13.