Another pressing team in store for men's basketball

January 3, 2013

Junior Klarke Ransome is providing Wilmington with a willing third scorer. (Wilmington file/Randy Sarvis)

Junior Klarke Ransome is providing Wilmington with a willing third scorer. (Wilmington file/Randy Sarvis)

For the third straight game, the Wilmington College men’s basketball team will have to face a team that wants to press them full court. John Carroll, however, brings a different challenge than the other teams. The Blue Streaks have a game plan of systematic and group substitutions. (Game Notes, Live Stats)

“We have to take care of the ball against a variety of their full court pressures and rebound the ball because they send four to five guys to the glass,” said WC head coach K.C. Hunt. “Ultimately, it’s going to be about having great, quality possessions.”

The Fightin’ Quakers are coming off a game in which they handled the Miami University press defense just a contest after letting the Heidelberg press rattle them a little bit. Hunt acknowledged the team adjusted their press offense between the two games.

The game matches the highest scoring team in the league (John Carroll, 80.3 ppg) against one of the lowest scoring teams (Wilmington, 68.1 ppg). The Blue Streaks have eclipsed the 100-point barrier twice this season.

One of the enigmas to Wilmington’s offensive woes are that the Quakers are leading the OAC in steals and second in assists. Sophomore Dwight Johnson (Dayton, OH/Jefferson) is second in the league in both assists (3.83) and steals (2.0).

“We have a bunch of willing passers that like to share, but we haven’t finished well enough,” said Hunt. “We have focused on sudden change of possessions and finishing at the rim. It’s about concentrating and focusing, and keeping you eye on the target even with contact.”

Wilmington is led offensively by senior Brandon Candella (West Chester, OH/Lakota West) and junior Malcolm Heard II (Wilmington, OH/Wilmington), who are scoring 40 percent of the team’s points. The Fightin’ Quakers are 1-3 in games in which either of them fails to reach double figures.

Candella, who is in the middle of his best shooting season of his career, is leading WC with 14.6 points on 52-of-119 (44 percent) shooting. Heard II is coming off a game in which he played just 11 minutes before fouling out and was held scoreless over the final 38 minutes of the game. He is still second on the team in scoring with 12.8 points and is leading the Fightin’ Quakers with 6.2 rebounds per game, 30 steals and 19 blocks.

Junior Klarke Ransome (Richwood, OH/North Union) is a capable third scorer with 8.9 ppg. With 15 made three-pointers, he needs to four more to eclipse his season total from last season. Junior Jordan Berlin (Wilmington, OH/Wilmington), a transfer from Ashland, could add to Wilmington’s scoring punch once he gets fully acclimated to the system.

For John Carroll, senior Kyle Hubbard leads the OAC with 18.1 points and is tied for seventh with 6.3 boards. Senior Kenny Janz is the league leader in shooting percentage, making 87 percent (27-of-31) of his shots. He is tied for seventh with 6.3 rebounds. JCU has 11 players that average at least 12 minutes per game with no player playing more than 23 minutes.

The game is slated to begin at 2 p.m. Saturday.