By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
ALBION, Mich. – Capital Men's Basketball opened the 2018-19 season by facing against Albion College out of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Conference on Friday night. Both teams held leads, featured momentum-changing runs and went down to the wire. Despite possessing a lead with under four minutes to go Capital was unable to hold the lead nor successfully finish its late comeback bid. The Crusaders lost to Britons, 71-68, at Kresge Gymnasium.
Senior Joey Weingartner's outside game kept Capital within arm's reach of host Albion (1-0). After taking a 38-35 lead into halftime, the Brits came out of the gate with an 8-2 start to build its lead to 46-37, their largest lead to that point. Weingartner broke up the run with one of his six triples on the day and kept it a two-possession game. The Centerville, Ohio native came back on the very next possession and threaded not one but two additional 3-pointers to help feed into a Capital 11-0 run in response. His third of the series drew CU to within one point of Albion. He then went on to sink two free throws to give Capital its first lead since the 4:55 mark of the first half.
Capital increased its lead to five points with yet another Weingartner three, 57-52, with 9:37 to go. Capital then missed six straight shots and turned the ball over twice while the Brits came back to tie the game at 57 with 6:30 to go. Sophomore guard Cameron Caldwell (Westerville, Ohio/Westerville South) fed into two lead changes but both teams continued to struggle offensively over the next three-plus minutes.
Albion's Devin Holmes hit the go-ahead layup with 2:22 remaining but the Crusaders were unable to answer immediately. Cap came to within one point, 63-62, with 1:17 to go behind a made free throw by senior Austin Schreck (Erlonger, Ky./Dixie Heights) but Caden Ebeling replied with a 3-point make with under one minute to go. Down five after the made, Weingartner made the last of his treys to bring Cap to within in two points but the Crusaders were relegated to fouling Albion and the Brits shut the door by hitting enough of its free throws to clinch the win.
Weingartner hit five of his six triples and scored 17 of his game-high 22 points in the second half.
Schreck started the game strongly, scoring Capital's first seven points in succession. He did not convert a field goal in the second half and finished with 16 points and five rebounds. Also in double figures was senior Caleb Cox (Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills) with his 11 points, and he also led the Crusaders with seven rebounds.
MJ Barnes (12) led Albion in scoring and was one of three players to score in double figures. Ebeling led both sides with 11 rebounds and contributed eight points.
At game's end, Albion outshot Capital with a 52.9 percent success rate to Capital's 35.7 percent, and also held a plus-four rebound advantage over Cap. Both teams shot 40 percent from behind the arc.
Capital (0-1) will have a quick turnaround and return to Albion College on Saturday afternoon to play Trine University (Ind.). Tipoff between the Crusaders and the Thunder will take place at 1 p.m. from Kresge Gymnasium.
A video stream and live stats will be available, as well as Twitter updates via @CapCrusaders.