JCU back in D-III national tournament

Feb. 29—Staff Report

For a second straight season, the John Carroll men's basketball team is in the Division III National Tournament.

The Blue Streaks earned a trip to the national tournament by winning both the Ohio Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles.

The 25 wins is the most regular-season victories in school history.

JCU, the third-ranked team in the nation, is scheduled to host first and second-round games this weekend.

It is the first time since 2018 that the Blue Streaks will start the NCAA Tournament at home.

The Blue Streaks will host SUNY New Paltz in the first round at 8:20 p.m. on Friday.

In the first game at 5:50 p.m. on Friday, Calvin is scheduled to play Elmhurst. The winners will return for the second round at 8:20 p.m. Saturday.

"Our men have been working for this since last spring," Blue Streaks assistant coach Pat Moran said. 'It is not easy to lock in for five months that includes three major holidays and a winter break."

Moran, a former Madison boys basketball coach and current social studies teacher at the school, is an assistant coach at JCU with his brother, Matt. Pete Moran, Pat and Matt's brother, is JCU's head coach.

The SUNY New Paltz Hawks enter the postseason with a 20-7 record. The Hawks won the SUNYAC Tournament, upsetting No. 5 Oswego State.

The Calvin Knights are a battle-tested team. The Knights rank No. 6 in the, with a 22-4 record. Calvin lost in the semifinal round of the MIAA Tournament to Hope College.

The Elmhurst Blue Jays carry a 22-5 record into the tournament. The Blue Jays captured the CCIW Tournament Championship, beating No. 22 Illinois Wesleyan University 68-64.

JCU's two losses have been to Hampden-Sydney College 85-67 on Dec. 19 and Otterbein 78-74 on Feb. 14.

After an 88-69 win over Marietta in an OAC semifinal game, the Blue Streaks downed Mount Union 88-86 in overtime to win the conference tournament crown.

"When you are fortunate to go 17-1 in a conference as tough as the OAC from top to bottom, you are doing something right," Moran said. "We, as a staff, are fortunate to have a team filled of young men that live by the mantra of family and sacrifice. They truly have earned and deserve to be in the position they are in."

The majority of players are from the Cleveland area. Luke Chicone, a Mentor graduate, captured the OAC Dick Reynolds Player of the Year, while Pete Moran was the conference Coach of the Year.

Chicone joins elite company alongside recent JCU Hall of Fame inductee Corey Shontz, who is a Pymatuning Valley graduate, as the only other Blue Streak to win the OAC's Player of the Year honors.