Celtics earn second straight RSC win

Kristin Seamon -

M1918OCU

The Carlow men’s basketball team earned its second straight River States Conference win Tuesday, Jan. 9, at Oakland Catholic.

The Celtics edged Ohio Christian University, 75-72, to record back-to-back conference wins for the first time in program history. The victory came on the heels of a 78-65 win at Midway on Saturday.

Carlow (3-12/3-3/0-1) moved its RSC record to 3-3, tying the program-best conference win total from the 2016-17 season.

The Celtics stopped a Trailblazers team that entered the contest on a three-game win streak, including its past two RSC wins against Alice Lloyd and Asbury.

Carlow gave a well-rounded team effort, led by 14 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists for Rece Henneman (JR/Clarksville, Pa.). Austin Matta (JR/Elizabeth, Pa.) added 11 points and Charlie Scharbo (SR/Jefferson Hills, Pa.) posted 10 points and seven rebounds.

The Celtics leapt out to a 10-2 lead in the first 3:04 and controlled the majority of the contest. They led by as many as 11 points in the first half and had a 37-31 advantage at halftime.

However, the Trailblazers (6-11/2-4) erased the Carlow lead and built their own with a 21-4 run across 4:19 in the middle of the second half. Dylan Geig and Troy Mundy combined to hit 5-of-6 straight 3-pointers as OCU took its first lead, 53-52, with 10:28 to play and then its largest lead, 66-56, with 7:20 remaining.

But the Celtics rose to the challenge by ending the game with a 19-6 run in which five different Celtics scored.

Jacob St. George (JR/Monaca, Pa.) nailed a 3 to tie the game at 68, with 2:47 to play. Matta followed it with another 3 to put Carlow back in the lead, 71-69, with 1:01 remaining.

Carlow led, 74-69, with 49 seconds left, but OCU's John Johnson made a 3 to cut it to 74-72 with 31 seconds left. With 16 seconds left, the Trailblazers drove into the lane looking to kick the ball to an open man behind the 3-point line to take the lead, but Matta stepped up to take the charge and regain possession for Carlow.

The Trailblazers were forced to foul as the time wound down, and Henneman hit a free throw to seal the win.

Rijnard Hartman finished with a double-double of 11 points and 20 rebounds for OCU. Jalen Hearn added 18 points and Johnson had 17 points and eight assists.

OCU out-rebounded Carlow, 54-41, but the Celtics had eight turnovers to the Trailblazers’ 11.

Carlow shot 42.9 percent from the floor (30-of-70) and 40 percent (8-of-20) from 3. OCU shot 40.6 percent (28-of-69) from the floor, and 26.7 percent (8-of-30) from 3.

The Celtics next travel to No. 3 Indiana University East (17-2/6-0) on Saturday, Jan.13.

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