14th ranked Pirates fall to John Carroll

Big second half propels Pirates past the Panthers
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WOOSTER, Ohio – Sean Flannery’s four-point play with 18 seconds to play lifted John Carroll University to a 95-89 win over Whitworth University on Saturday at the E.M. “Mose” Hole/Wooster Kiwanis Classic.

The Blue Streaks improved to 6-3 while the 14th-ranked Pirates fell to 6-2.  Whitworth will take on 24th-ranked College of Wooster in the tournament’s finale on Sunday.

After Whitworth took an 89-87 lead with two minutes left, the Pirates came up empty on their final three possessions.  After JCU tied the game, Ben College had a good look at a three-pointer from the top of the key with just under a minute to play, but it hit the back iron.  Whitworth appeared to get a defensive stop, but the Blue Streaks came away with the offensive rebound, which set up Flannery for the game winning shot.  Isaiah Hernandez was called for a foul as Flannery let go a long three-pointer, which fell through the net.  Whitworth committed a turnover on its next possession and JCU clinched the win with a pair of free throws.

JCU jumped out to a 12-3 lead in the opening minutes of the game.  But the Pirates responded with a 13-2 run to take a 16-14 lead on Garrett Paxton’s three-pointer.  Trailing 23-21, Whitworth responded with a 15-0 run to grab a 36-23 lead.  The Pirates eventually went up by as many as 15 points when Liam Fitzgerald stole the ball and broke away for a dunk that put the Bucs ahead 56-41 with 1:45 left in the half.  JCU pulled to within 56-46 at halftime.

The Blue Streaks chipped away at the lead early in the second half, pulling within 61-58 on Flannery’s three-pointer five minutes into the period.  After JCU tied the game at 74 with 8:16 left, Whitworth appeared to retake control with a 9-2 run for a seven-point advantage two minutes later.  The Blue Streaks fought back to tie the game 85-85 on a three-point play from James Berger with four minutes left.  Whitworth took its final lead at 89-87 with just over two minutes to play after a pair of free throws by Fitzgerald.

College led five Pirates in double figures with 20 points.  Fitzgerald came off the bench for a career-high 16 points and added seven rebounds.  Paxton had 11 points off the bench.  Hernandez and Garrett Hull scored 10 apiece and Hull led the Bucs with ten rebounds.

After shooting 60% in the opening half, Whitworth made only 42% from the field in the second period.  The Pirates were 7-13 from three-point range in the first 20 minutes, but only 1-11 from beyond the arc after halftime.

Jackson Sartain scored 19 points and Emmett Chambers added 18 points for the Blue Streaks.  Flannery and Jimmy Berger scored 15 points apiece.  Flannery scored 12 of his points after halftime, including three three-pointers.