Men’s basketball upsets John Carroll in massive boost to OAC tournament hopes

Nearly 1,000 people attended the last home game for the men’s basketball team and were treated to a dramatic a 99-94 win over No. 6 John Carroll.

Excitement ran high on Wednesday night in Ursprung Gymnasium as the Baldwin Wallace Yellow Jackets men’s basketball team shocked the Div. III world by downing No. 6 John Carroll with a 99-94 in perhaps team’s biggest win since the 2019 Ohio Athletic Conference Championship game. 

The Jackets scored 50 points in the first half, 49 in the second and held off a furious comeback by the Blue Streaks late in the game. 

The win shakes up rest of the OAC, as the Blue Streaks now must share the throne of the top seed of the conference with Mount Union. The win is a huge confidence booster for the Yellow Jackets, as they are now tied for the fifth seed with Otterbein, which is good enough for a tournament berth. 

“I thought our guys played really, really, really hard,” said Tom Heil, head coach in his eighth season at the helm of the men’s team. “We know against them it’s a 40-minute game. There’s gonna be lead swings; they can play really fast. I was proud that our guys hung in there for 40 minutes.” 

The Streaks struggled beyond the three-point line all night, only hitting four out of 15 shots behind the arc. The Jackets held a 12-point lead at the half, and a commanding 21-point lead with 13 minutes to go in the second half before the Blue Streaks got hot. 

Suddenly, JCU got hot while BW’s offense sputtered out and struggled to make shots. The score was 92-90 in favor of the Yellow Jackets with 1:21 to go before sophomore forward Zoltan Nagy made a layup to extend the lead to four. Baldwin Wallace closed out the game by making five out of their last six free throws to prevent a comeback from the formidable John Carroll. 

Just before the clock hit zero, John Carroll’s sophomore guard Luke Chicone missed a three. Bedlam erupted as some students rushed the court to celebrate the win. Once the handshakes were done, the players ran right to the student body.  

It was the largest attendance of the season for BW at home, as nearly 1,000 attendees showed up to the contest between the inter-county rivals.  

Senior guard Anthony Mazzeo lit it up like a pinball machine as he made half of BW’s 10 three-pointers and 14 of their 33 field goals, not to mention shooting 6-8 from the free throw line. 

“Man, I always like to give glory to God, that’s who I’ve found my day in,” said Mazzeo, who hung 39 on the Streaks. “Obviously I’m losing my voice. That was an exciting win! It’s just a blessing man; it’s so fun.”  

Other than Mazzeo’s star performance, senior guard Jake Snyder and senior forward Jack Simmons reached double digits, with Snyder hitting 19 and Simmons getting 11. 

Meanwhile at the Mike Moran Court in University Heights, the women’s team, despite scoring a season high of 86 points, lost to the Blue Streaks, 89-86. The Jackets rallied from 18 down to make the score look interesting, but the loss dropped BW to a 13-4 record in the OAC.