UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS — It was the Luke and Luke show for John Carroll Wednesday night.
Luke Frazier notched 23 of his game-high 26 point in the first half, and Luke Chicone added 14 second-half points (20 overall) to go with his seven assists and two steals as the Blue Streaks gave the visiting Heidelberg Student Princes their first Ohio Athletic Conference loss of the season, 81-76.
Chicone came into the contest leading the conference in assists. Will Yontek chipped in with 8 points, Chase Toppin added 9, and Luke Eller also scored 8 for the victors.
Along with Marietta and Mount Union, the Blue Streaks and Heidelberg are now tied atop the Conference with 4-1 records. The Blue Streaks are also ranked #14 in the nation in the most recent Division III basketball poll.
Despite some errors – 11 turnovers – John Carroll (JCU) lead 37-33 at the half thanks to Luke Frazier. The sophomore 6-6 guard was 9-13 from the field and 3-3 beyond the three-point arc in the first half for his 23 points.
“Frazier carried the load in the first half, says JCU coach Peter Moran. “He did a good job of picking his spots, (He’s) doing much better with that as of late.”
Moran adds that JCU turned its defense up a notch in the second half, which lead to the Blue Streak slowly but steadily expanding the lead.
“We had better looks at the basket in the second half, and it came down to a fine defensive effort (on our part),” Moran adds, pointing to 11 Berg turnovers and 6 steals after the intermission. “Heidelberg is a very good team, and our defense was solid, considering how explosive their guards are.”
Hear all of Coach Moran’s post-game comments here:
Four players led a very balanced Heidelberg attack with 11 points apiece, including Emmanuel Perdue, who notched his 1,000 career point early in the contest. Eric Panning, Jashun Cobb, and Jacob Logsdon. Cobb and Zane Leitwein each grabbed 8 rebounds, and Panning added seven. Berg outrebounded JCU 44-29 in the contest.
“It was our inability to take care of the basketball that cost us the game,” says Heidelberg Coach Andy Bucheit, citing 18 total giveaways in the contest. “It was our error(s) mentally, which was disappointing. “I thought we did well with the tempo, but we also did some things (free throw shooting, three-point shooting) which were uncharacteristic for us.
JCU won every aspect of shooting the basketball, notching 45% from the field, 31% in three-point territory, and 81.5% from the charity stripe. By comparison, Berg was 41% from the field, 59% from the free throw line, and just 26% from beyond the three-point arc. That last statistic was especially disappointing for Bucheit, as Heidelberg has been atop or near the top of the OAC in three-point baskets so far this season.
Hear all of Coach Bucheit’s post-game comments here:
Although he was tonight’s top scorer for the Blue Streaks, Frazier downplayed its significance. “We have a bunch of players (on this team) who can go out and score 25 to 30 points, every night, and that’s the way we have to win,” he says. “We have so many players on our team who (can) space it out.”
Frazier isn’t modest about the Blue Streaks’ potential, but in a realistic way. “The goal is the national championship, (but) we have to keep making new steps (ahead) every day.” He adds. He pointed out that a core group of players for JCU were playing together on a team since the fourth grade, but very few team members have OAC experience “it’s a grind,” he admits.
Hear all of Luke Frazier’s post-game comments here:
Both teams go back into action on Saturday. Heidelberg will visit Otterbein, while the Blue Streaks host Ohio Northern.
Here’s a link to the stats of the game, courtesy of John Carroll’s Sports Information Dept.
NOTE: EyeonCleveland’s John Kerezy will be at Hiram College on January 11, writing about the North Coast Athletic Conference men’s basketball contest between the Wabash College Little Giants and the Hiram Terriers.