Blue Streaks stall in second half of season opener, losing to Heidelberg


Amy Morris, JCU Sports Information

Eric Hanna (white uniform) guards Dylan Woods (basketball left hand) in a game on Jan. 22 at the Tony DeCarlo Varsity Center.

Ashley McCall, Staff Reporter

After nearly a year of restrictions and regulations stopping all sports, the John Carroll University Men’s Basketball team was finally able to compete in Ohio Athletic Conference play against the Heidelberg Student Princes on Jan. 22. 

The season opener took place in University Heights where the Blue Streaks suffered a 69-53 loss at the hands of the Student Princes. 

The match started in disarray, going back and forth in turnovers and fouls, as the rust was shaken from the players after only practicing for three weeks before this competition.

Eric Hanna, a sophomore for the Blue and Gold, was the first to score, nailing a three-point shot. Hanna’s made field goal was quickly answered by the returning lead scorer for the Student Princes, Dylan Woods, who made both foul shots on the first of many fouls to be called.  

These well-matched opponents continued to swap the lead for the rest of the half, neither one pulling ahead by more than five points at a time. 

The halftime score favored Heidelberg 32-27 with hope still for the Blue Streaks to make a comeback to win the first game in the 2021 season.

The Student Princes came out of halftime ready for battle as they went on a 10-point scoring spree with no response from John Carroll. That is until Hanna hit his third three of the game.

By the 10-minute mark in the second half, Heidelberg had held the Blue Streaks to just 10 points — making the score 52-37. 

The Blue and Gold continued to claw their way back into the game until Alex Arellano from Heidelberg caught fire, going 5-of-8 from beyond the three-point line, adding to his game-high 17 total points for the night. 

The Blue Streaks fought until the very last moment, proving that their effort stands strong in the face of adversity, but as the clock ran down, Heidelberg came out the victors of a well-fought match. 

“I am extremely thrilled with the effort our guys gave,” said John Carroll head coach Pete Moran. “That doesn’t show by the score, but I really think they gave a lot of effort.” 

Hanna led John Carroll with 11 points, followed by sophomore Mason Trubisky with eight points, and Jackson Sartain adding seven points of his own. Senior Emil Hess added eight rebounds and junior Emmett Chambers snagged seven rebounds while battling through injury.

Freshmen Connor O’Toole and Eric Buckner Jr. received substantial playing time for John Carroll, illuminating the bright future for the Blue Streaks.

“It was Connor [O’Toole] and E.J. [Buckner Jr.]’s first time playing collegiate basketball, and it was eye-opening for them,” commented Moran. “But they are competitors, they are winners. Those guys are going to be staples of our program for the next four years.”

The Blue Streaks were looking to rebound after this defeat with a chance for redemption against the Student Princes the next day in Tiffin, Ohio, which ended up being canceled due to COVID-19 protocols. 

John Carroll will look to improve their 0-1 record as they take on rival Mount Union in back-to-back games on Jan. 29 and 30 at 7:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., respectively.