The Marietta College men’s basketball team looks to avenge its first conference loss of the season on Feb. 13 when the John Carrol Blue Streaks visit Marietta in an OAC match-up.
The Blue Streaks defeated the Pioneers 82-78 in their previous meeting on Dec. 19 on some clutch late free throws from JCU’s David Linane. The game was close from the start and their next meeting is not expected to be any different with the exception of the Pioneers being able to play in front of a packed Ban Johnson arena.
But before the Pioneers get a crack at the OAC leaders, they have another top team to hurdle in the Mount Union Purple Raiders whom they defeated in their previous match up 98-85. The Mount Union game was much different from the John Carrol game, as Marietta led from tip-off, at one point holding a 30 point lead against the 18th ranked Purple Raiders.
The Pioneers will play Mount Union at home on February 10th. These are both key games for the Pioneers as both games have playoff hopes riding on them. If the Pioneers are able to defeat both John Carrol and Mount Union then they would be set up for at least a tie for the OAC regular season title.
If the Pioneers manage to win the regular season title, that would put them in position to make the NCAA tournament without having to win their conference tournament. With these two big games ahead of them, the Pioneers will rely on contributions from both their starters and the bench, if they hope to win both of these games and give themselves another shot at making a playoff run like they did last year.
“The difference between last year’s team and this year’s team is the talent level.” Coach VanderWal said in a recent interview with The Marcolian.
Despite this, the Pioneers are scoring more points per game than they were last year.
With playoff implications hanging in the balance, the Pioneers will have a long week that will ultimately decide the fate of their season.