Nov. 20, 2010

Courtesy of John Carroll Athletics

Often when it’s early in the season, a team needs a few games before it begins to fire on all cylinders.

In John Carroll's case, it may have taken just a little under three.

In a match-up against the #5 ranked team in Division III, Carthage College, and on its home floor to boot, #18 ranked John Carroll rallied from a double-digit halftime deficit to stun the Red Men, 70-69, to capture the title of the 2010 Carthage Classic.

John Carroll (3-0) trailed Carthage at the intermission 43-30, shifting from red hot to start the game, to stone cold to end the half. The Streaks scored its first 16 points in less than the first six minutes of play, but was limited to just 14 for the rest of the half. Carthage at one point extended their lead to 15 points, forcing JCU to dig deep during the break.

Carthage still led by 11 points, 52-41, at 13:06 second half when the visiting Streaks used a 15-4 run by to tie the contest, 56-56, at the 8:05 mark. Maurice Haynes scored on four layups in that run.

The Red Men’s last lead was 59-58 at 6:53, although the game was tied twice, once at 67-67 with 1:07 remaining.

Conor Tilow scored on a layup with 49 seconds to go to put the Blue Streaks up by two, 69-67. After Carthage missed a pair of potential game-tying shots, Haynes was fouled with 21 seconds on the clock and made the front end of two-shot free throw to make it a three-point game, 70-67.

Steve Djurickovic connected on two free throws with 8.4 seconds to go to cut the lead to 70-69, but-- after a missed free throw by JCU -- a desperation heave by Carthage at the buzzer missed its mark.

This game would end up to a be a story of two halves, as John Carroll came out firing in the second half, slowly but surely closing down on that 13 point lead. One of John Carroll’s biggest threats is its ability to hit the long ball, and they finished 40% from behind the arc knocking down six three-pointers, which helped them climb back into the game.

With the defense coming together and holding Carthage to just 24 second half points, and only 4-21 from three point range, the Blue Streaks showed that even with graduating a few players, they are still an elite basketball team.

“We made a good half time adjustment when we switched our press style,” said Haynes. “Our bigger adjustment was playing with more heart – you can’t win unless you give it your all.”

Haynes led the team in scoring with 23 pts. Juniors Connor Tilow and Corey Shontz chipped in with 14 and 10 pts a piece respectively. Michael Hartnett netted eight points on the afternoon, but also contributed heavily on the defensive end with three steals.

“What a warrior that guy is, he (Hartnett) really did a great job,” said Head Coach Mike Moran. “Our style of basketball wears on you and even though we were down by 13, some of their guys got tired.”

Corey Shontz and Maurice Haynes were both named to the All-Tournament team as a recognition of their play.