Updated Sat, Feb 22, 2014 6:19 pm
The orange ball flies through the air as each player looks across the perimeter for the open shot. Finally Marietta’s sophomore wing Luis Garcia swings the ball one final time before junior post player A.J. Davis released a three that arched up and over the John Carroll defender and into the basket, sending the crowd into hysterics.
Marietta’s first lead would come from that shot and then went on a 8-0 run and would not let the Blue Streaks recover from their late defensive mental lapse, as the Pioneers took a 94-87 win in Ban Johnson Arena for their final game of the regular season.
Early on, it looked like Marietta (19-6, 14-4) was in danger of losing the number two spot in the Ohio Athletic Conference as John Carroll (15-10, 9-9) came roaring out of the gate with a 9-2 run that left the Pioneers wondering “what happened?”
The one-two punch of the Blue Streaks’ explosive offense and full-court press proved to be too much for Marietta for the majority of the game, giving the Pioneers fits on the boards early on and converting 9 of 19 from the perimeter.
But the tide of the game changed after Davis’ three and Marietta finally clicked together. After the Blue Streaks shot 58 percent from the field in the first half, it was the Pioneers turn as they similarly shot for 58 percent in the second half.
Sophomore post player Eddy Grenert was the main reason for this, netting 8 of his 10 shots from the field and grabbing 10 rebounds on the way to the win.
After dominating for much of the first half, John Carroll came into the second half without much energy, allowing the Pioneers get their foot back in the door by using decisive rebounds and 21 points off turnovers to regain the support of their home crowd.
The bench was also a key for Marietta, as 55 of its points came from the players riding the pine. The largest contribution among them was Grenert with his 21 points.
Now that the regular season is over, the Pioneers will have to really clamp down in the first half, especially after letting fifth place John Carroll take a 47-39 lead into halftime.
Marietta’s next action will come in the OAC Tournament, set to begin on Tuesday Feb. 25.