BEXLEY, Ohio – The fifth-seeded Baldwin Wallace University men's basketball team upset top-seeded Capital University by a score of 81-67 in the Ohio Athletic Conference semifinals inside the Capital Center.
The Yellow Jackets advance to the OAC Championship Game for the second time in three years, with the last visit coming in the 2016-17 season. The last time BW and Capital met in the post-season, the Yellow Jackets defeated the Crusaders in the quarterfinals by a final of 78-68 in 2013-14.
BW (19-8) was led by junior Academic All-OAC guard Michael Quiring (Brunswick) who marked 16 points. Senior two-time All-OAC and two-time Academic All-OAC guard Jay Battle (Gahanna/ Lincoln) poured in 13 and junior forward Tyler Colombo (Strasburg/ Tuscarawas Central Catholic) and sophomore guard Luke Schaefer (Medina) had 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Capital (20-7), which suffered its first home loss at home this season, had three in double-figures, led by two-time All-OAC and two-time Academic All-OAC guard Austin Schreck who scored a game-high 20 points. Senior All-OAC guard Joey Weingartner and senior two-time Academic All-OAC forward Caleb Cox each had 13 points.
Capital opened the scoring with a Schreck layup in the first possession and senior guard Kyle Nader (Vermilion) got the Yellow Jackets on the board at 18:00 with a pair of free-throws. The Crusaders went on a 7-0 run over the next three minutes after a Cox layup at 14:57. BW broke their initial 0-for-6 shooting from the floor after a drive and score by sophomore guard Matthew Dimitrijevs (Brecksville/ Brecksville-Broadview Heights) at 14:38 to cut the Crusader lead to 9-4. Capital knocked down two free-throws in its next possession before neither team would score for the next 3:12. With the score at 11-4, Capital went on a 10-4 spurt to bring the score to 21-8, capped off by a Schreck layup at 8:21. BW battled back with an 11-4 run of its own to shrink the lead to 25-19 with just more than four minutes left in the half. The Yellow Jackets cut the lead to 30-25 after an offensive rebound and putback by freshman guard Shane Zalba (Mentor), who scored a career-high six points in the first stanza. Capital junior guard Dan Auble drilled a trey before the buzzer and Capital headed into the intermission up, 33-25.
BW scored the first two baskets of the second half with layups from Colombo and Schaefer to bring the score to 33-29. The Yellow Jackets cut the lead to 43-41 at 11:50 after a 12-10 spurt, capped off with junior forward Jack Lostoski (Uniontown/Lake) nailing one-of-two free throws. BW tied the game up at 46-46 after a post-move score by Colombo at 9:29. The squads tied at 49 and 51 before BW established its first lead of 52-51 with a Colombo free-throw with 7:44 left in regulation. The lead changed hands twice over the next minute before BW exploded for a 20-6 run, that included 11 of Quiring's 16 points, to bring the score to 74-59 with 1:35 left to play. BW held off the Crusaders in the final minute and closed the game out with an 81-67 final.
With the victory, BW has sealed its date with the University of Mount Union in the OAC Championship game on Saturday, February 23 at 7:30 p.m. The winnner of the OAC Championship receives an automatic bid to the 2019 NCAA Division lll National Tournament.