John Carroll knocks #17 Marietta from OAC Tournament

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MARIETTA, Ohio – The 17th ranked Marietta College men's basketball team fell to John Carroll University, 82-79, in the final seconds of the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament quarterfinals. The Pioneers slip to 20-6 overall, while John Carroll improves to 13-13 overall.

"We struggled to shoot it today and that gave us some problems," Pioneer head coach Jon VanderWal said. "Yet we still had a great chance to win the game. Give Ryan Berger credit. He hit a really tough three with a guy all over him. I thought we defended that play really well and Berger just hit a really tough shot."

The Pioneers got off to a slow start and trailed 8-2 through the opening four minutes of action.  Marietta battled back to trim the lead to 12-9 when Jason Ellis hit a three pointer at the 13:49 mark of the half.

The Blue Streaks regained their momentum and held a 26-14 edge with seven minutes to play in the half.  John Carroll maintained its advantage for a majority of the half until an 11-0 run by Marietta gave the Pioneers a 41-37 lead with 46 seconds to play in the half.

Kyle Dixon sparked the run with a jumper and Anthony Wallace capped it off with a three-pointer. The Pioneers entered the intermission ahead, 41-39.

Marietta opened the second half with strong offensive play from, Caleb Hoying and Keith Richardson.  The Pioneers were able to extend their lead to 56-48, at the 15:33 mark of the second half.

The Blue Streaks responded and cut the Marietta lead to 61-60 at the 11:25 mark.  The Pioneers answered with an old fashioned three-point play and a jumper from Dixon to regain a 66-60 margin.

John Carroll retook the lead with a 10-0 run that ended at the 5:31 mark of the second half.  The run was halted by a Mel Shuler layup.  The game remained tight down the stretch and with just under two minutes to play in the game a pair of Richardson foul shots put the Pioneers up 73-72.

After the Blue Streaks made a basket and took a 74-73 edge, Marietta responded with a Richardson layup and a pair of foul shots from Shuler to put the Pioneers up, 77-74, with 57 seconds to play.

A three-pointer from Ryan Berger tied the game with 44 seconds to play, but Wallace knocked down a turn-around jumper with 17 seconds on the clock to give Marietta a 79-77 edge.

After a timeout, the Blue Streaks went to Berger again and he delivered his fifth trey of the night for a one-point John Carroll lead with 10 seconds remaining in the game. Marietta was whistled for an offensive foul on the ensuing possession giving the ball back to JCU with two seconds left. The Pioneers were forced to foul and Sean Flannery hit both free throws for the 82-79 victory.

The Pioneers were led by Wallace as he had 20 points, four rebounds, and a pair of steals.  Richardson pitched in with 20 points, a pair of assists and a block in the game.  Hoying pulled down a game high 13 rebounds and added four points.

Ryan Berger led all scorers with 27 points and notched a double-double with 11 rebounds. James Berger and Luke Hippler each added 14 points, while Flannery finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

Marietta will await the announcement of the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball tournament field, as the Selection Show is Monday (Feb. 25) afternoon.