By Phil Burwell, Director of Athletic Communications
NAPERVILLE, Ill. – The Carthage College men’s basketball team dropped a midweek matchup on Wednesday night in Naperville, Illinois, falling to the Cardinals of North Central College in a College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin showdown, 67-63. The loss drops the Red Men to 7-10 overall and to 2-6 in the CCIW, while the Cardinals, who are receiving votes in the top-25, improve to 14-3 and 6-2. Kienan Baltimore led the Red Men in the loss with 18 points on 7-12 shooting and 4-5 from the line, while Mike Canady was Carthage’s only other player in double figures with 13 points on 5-6 from the field and 3-4 from three-point territory. Rounding out the top performers for Carthage, Brett Czerak had nine points of the bench and Jordon Kedrowski and TJ Best each had eight. Sean Johnson led the Red Men with nine rebounds and set a new career-high and was one off the school record with eight blocks.
The Red Men trailed by as many as six in the opening ten minutes of the first half but took the lead on a Baltimore layup for their first lead of the game with 10:06 remaining in the half, 17-15. The Red Men would push a lead to as many as five late in the half but a 5-0 run to end the half for the Cardinals, including a buzzer-beating three tied the game at the break, 33-33.
With Carthage trailing by one early in the second half, 38-37, the Cardinals went on a 13-0 run to take control of the game with a 51-37 lead with 12:59 remaining. Carthage would answer with a 15-4 run of their own that was capped off with a pair of threes by Kedrowski to cut the deficit to three with 7:04 remaining, 55-52, but the Cardinals were able to push the lead back to eight and headed off the Carthage comeback with a 12-14 second half free throw performance to escape with the win.
As a team, the Red Men finished better from the floor in the win, going 22-51 and 8-23 from three, while the Cardinals were 20-56 and 8-29 from deep. The Cardinals won the game at the line, as North Central made 19-22 free throws, while the Red Men got to the line just 13 times, converting 11. Carthage won the battle on the boards, 36-31, however committed 15 turnovers that led to 22 Cardinal points in the loss. The Red Men will return to the road for their third-straight game away from Tarble on Saturday, when Carthage travels to Decatur, Illinois for the weekend doubleheader with Millikin University. The Lady Reds will tip with the Big Blue at 2:00 p.m. with the Red Men playing at 4:00 p.m.