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Men's Basketball's Three-Game Winning Streak Ends at Mount Union

Photo by Randy Sarvis
Photo by Randy Sarvis

ALLIANCE, Ohio - The Wilmington College men's basketball team connected on 33-of-36 free throw attempts, but the University of Mount Union held a 44-25 rebounding advantage in a 79-73 victory over the Fightin' Quakers in Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) action on Saturday afternoon.

Mount Union scored the first eight points of the game forcing Wilmington to play catchup early, but the Quakers battled back to tie the game 18-18 on a four-point play from Christian Jones at the 10:35 mark.

The Purple Raiders, who defeated the Quakers 76-73 at Hermann Court on Dec. 2, 2017, responded with a 17-9 run capped by a layup by Miles Griffin over the next seven minutes. Trailing 35-27, Will Patrick and D.J. Iles hit two free throws each for Wilmington, and after a Mount Union basketball, Christian Jones got to the free throw line three consecutive possessions and made five free throws to get the visitors within three points (39-36). Nathan Bower-Malone ended the half with a basket to put the hosts ahead 41-36 at the break.

Wilmington got within two points (43-41) on a three-pointer from Nathan Scott early in the second half, but Mount Union went on a 14-4 run over the next seven minutes to grow its lead to a dozen. The Quakers would get within three points (62-59) at the 7:32 mark of the second half on two free throws from Kevin Lewis and had a four-point deficit five minutes later on a three-pointer from Andrew Russell, but the Purple Raiders hit free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

"We did not play Wilmington basketball today," Head Men's Basketball Coach K.C. Hunt said. "Inconsistent effort along with poor shooting with get you a loss most nights in this league, and that's happened tonight."

The Quakers shot 16-of-54 (29.6 percent) from the field compared to 28-of-56 (50 percent) for the Purple Raiders. Wilmington made eight three-pointers along with a 91.7 shooting percentage from the free throw line compared to seven triples for Mount Union.

Individually, Patrick led the Quakers with 19 points including 9-of-9 from the free throw line while Christian Jones scored 18 points. Russell and Iles also scored in double figures while Kevin Lewis had eight points and dished out three assists.

Andrew Francesconi finished with 19 points and seven rebounds while Bower-Malone had 17 points. JJ Kukura added a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Wilmington (8-10, 4-8 OAC) host Muskingum University on Wednesday evening.