Wednesday men: JCU defends top spot

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Luke Frazier finished with a double-double for John Carroll.
John Carroll athletics file photo by Ben Peskar

John Carroll got by in his first game since returning to the No. 1 spot in the Top 25, while Clark finished a season sweep of WPI and Otterbein did the same to Marietta on Wednesday in Division III men’s basketball.

Top-ranked John Carroll went on a 15-1 run in the second half to surge past No. 18 Mount Union and won 74-66. The run was a team effort, as six players scored and nobody had more than four points in the surge. Luke Frazier finished the night with 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Luke Eller added 13 points and 11 boards in the win. John Carroll (21-1, 15-0 OAC) is now five games ahead of the Purple Raiders in the conference standings. Mount Union (17-5, 10-5) had two players score in double figures with senior Darrell Newsom leading the way with 19 points and Caleb Laurich added in a 17-point, 13-rebound double-double.

Ja’Zere Noel scored a game-high 28 points to lead No. 25 Rowan to a 99-87 win over New Jersey City in the final home game of the regular season. It was the sixth straight win for Rowan (17-5; 12-4 NJAC) which picked up the victory in its first game as a ranked team. Noel, who shot 8-for-16 from the field and 10-for-10 from the foul line, grabbed 11 rebounds for his 15th double-double of the season. Marcellus Ross scored 18 points and Jamir Spivey matched his season-high with 15 points with Josh Wright chipping in 14 points and Khalif Meares adding 10.

Clark drained 14 of 16 second half free throws, including a perfect 8-for-8 in the final 1:37, as the Cougars rallied from a halftime deficit against WPI for the second time this season to defeat the host Engineers 69-62 on Wednesday evening in Harrington Auditorium. It completed a regular season sweep of the Engineers for Clark for the first time in two decades. The Cougars improved to 17-6 on the season and 11-3 in conference play. WPI, which saw its seven-game winning streak snapped, falls to 18-4 and 11-2. The schools are less than two miles apart in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Otterbein snapped a 20-game losing streak to Marietta earlier in the season, but it didn’t take very long for the Cardinals to pick up a second win, as they defeated the Pioneers 90-88 in double overtime. Otterbein is now tied for third in the Ohio Athletic Conference, one game behind Mount Union. Otterbein trailed by nine points with 90 seconds left before hitting three consecutive three-pointers – Julian Heckman at 1:13, and then back-to-back daggers from Jack Clement in the closing minutes of regulation.

Goucher put himself in line for the final playoff spot in the Landmark Conference, as Onterio Miller scored 18 points to lead five players in double figures for the Gophers in an 87-78 win against Elizabethtown. The win pushed the Gophers (8-14, 6-9 Landmark) one game past E-town (8-14, 5-10) for sole possession of sixth place in the conference. Goucher has finished in the top six just once in the history of the conference, which started playing in 2007-08. There are three games left in the conference schedule.

With a near-capacity crown packing Darby Gymnasium, Grinnell pulled into a tie with Illinois College for the Midwest Conference lead by disposing of the Blueboys 118-101. Grinnell held a 90-88 lead with just under nine minutes remaining before going on a key six-point run that included a free throw and trey by Te Huki and a layup by Nick Lundy for a 96-88 lead. The Blueboys didn’t back down, though, scoring eight of the next 12 to cut the lead to four. That’s when Grinnell delivered the final dagger, scoring 12 unanswered points to take command to stay. Gabe Garcia started the run with two free throws, followed by a driving layup and thunderous dunk by Te Huki for a 106-96 lead. Kai Te Huki added another layup and free throw, Garcia made a free throw and Te Huki came up with yet another dunk to make it 112-96 with 1:33 left.

Alex Acosta finished with a game-high 30 points to help Washington & Jefferson upend first place Geneva in Presidents’ Athletic Conference play. The victory was the sixth in the past seven games for the Presidents. W&J is 7-10 in the conference and 8-14 overall. The loss drops Geneva to 16-2 in the PAC and 20-3 overall. Acosta, who has enjoyed a breakout sophomore season, put together a near perfect offensive effort. Acosta converted 12-of-13 field goal attempts in the win.

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