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Men's Basketball Clipped by Mount Union 86-84

Photo by Randy Sarvis
Photo by Randy Sarvis

ALLIANCE, Ohio - The University of Mount Union scored five points in the final 10 seconds to defeat the Wilmington College men's basketball team 86-84 in Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) action on Friday evening.

The Fightin' Quakers held an 80-75 lead with less than minute to play, but the Purple Raiders hit consecutive triples, with two Wilmington free throws sandwiched in between, to get within a single point. Andrew Russell hit both foul shots to put the visitors back up 84-81 with 17 seconds left, but a Nathan Bower-Malone triple with a hand right in his face tied the game with eight seconds to play in regulation. Wilmington looked to push the ball up the floor to get off a potential game-winning shot, but a steal and layup as time expired from Collen Gurley gave the hosts a two-point victory.

"I am proud of our team's effort tonight in a tough loss," Head Men's Basketball Coach K.C. Hunt said. "We made a ton of winning plays tonight, but couldn't close it out. Hats off to Mount Union."

Mount Union, which defeated Wilmington 94-72 at Hermann Court in December, looked for another comfortable victory by going ahead 21-11 nine minutes into the game. Wilmington had other ideas, however, as a Will Patrick triple at the 3:06 mark in the first half gave the Quakers a 33-32 lead. The visitors would maintain a one-point advantage (39-38) at halftime.

Neither team would lead by more than a single possession in the first eight minutes of the second half until a Tommy Stenger jumper put the Purple Raiders up 56-51. Three minutes later, a DaeShawn Jackson layup put the Quakers up 60-59 with 9:06 to play in regulation. No one led by more than possession once again until a Patrick's three-pointer put Wilmington on top by five with a minute to play.

Mount Union shot 57.4 percent (35-of-61) from the field compared to 49.1 percent (26-of-53) for Wilmington. The Quakers held a slight advantage (11-8) in three-pointers made along with made 21-of-23 attempts (91.3 percent) at the free throw line compared to just 7-of-13 (53.8 percent) for the Purple Raiders.

Jackson led Wilmington individually with 19 points along with dishing out four assists while Russell and Patrick contributed 17 and 14 points respectively off the bench. Lewis led the squad with seven rebounds while also dishing out four assists.

Stenger finished with a team-high 19 points for Mount Union while Bower-Malone added 18 points. Mario Caywood and Andrew Francesconi also finished in double figures for the Purple Raiders.

Wilmington (10-6, 6-4 OAC) travels to Ohio Northern University for a 7 p.m. contest on Wednesday.