Men's Basketball

Men’s Basketball Looks to Continue Building Momentum at Baldwin-Wallace

Justen Little (Photo by Ryan Baker)

The Mount Union's men's basketball team will play its fourth of seven road game during the month of January when it travels to Berea to battle conference rival Baldwin-Wallace Wednesday at 7:30 pm. LIVE STATS and an AUDIO BROADCAST will be available for the game online.

The game will feature two of the top defenses in the Ohio Athletic Conference. The Yellow Jackets allow the second-fewest points at 66.8 per game while leading the conference in field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to shoot just 41.3-percent from the field. The Purple Raiders are allowing just 68.6 per game to rank fourth in the conference and are second in field goal percentage defense (.422).

Mount Union appears to be hitting its stride after going 2-1 during the final week of winter break, highlighted by a win at Ohio Northern to get on the board in conference play. The lone loss came to unbeaten Lycoming (Pa.) in the championship game of a tournament the Warriors were hosting.

The Purple Raiders are scoring 69.9 points per game and have found success from three-point range, ranking second in the OAC in three-point field goal percentage (.361) and three-pointers (8.6 per game). They made 13 three-pointers in both games at the Basinger Tournament a week, tying the program record for most in a game.

Senior forward Jimmy Wood (Wintersville/Indian Creek) continues to show why he was an all-conference selection last season. Wood scored 29 points to go with a career-high 16 rebounds in a win over Immaculata (Pa.) and tallied a game-high 22 points against Ohio Northern. He leads the OAC in scoring at 20.5 points per game and tops Mount Union with 6.5 rebounds per game.

There comes a point in the season when freshmen can no longer be considered freshmen. It appears as if that time has come for Nate Jacubec (Struthers/Struthers) and Stevie Griffin (Canton/Massillon Jackson). The duo combined to average 26.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.3 assists over the three-game week. They also made 18 three-pointers and shot 82.4-percent from the foul line (14-of-17). Against Ohio Northern on Saturday, they made big shot after big shot, and Griffin's basket with 2:38 to play proved to be the game-winner.

Jacubec is second on the team in scoring (11.0) and three-pointers (24) while shooting a team-best 81.6-percent from the foul line. Griffin is third in scoring (8.6) and leads the conference in three-point shooting (.465).

Junior point guard Justen Little (Galion/Galion) is second in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (5.22) and second in the conference with 3.6 assists per game. Against Ohio Northern, Little posted career marks in points (7), rebounds (7), and steals (3) while dishing out five assists.

Guard T.J. Gillespie (Toledo/St. John's) and forwards Matt Kiger (Williamstown, W. Va./Williamstown) and Matt Wier (New Castle, Pa./Mohawk) have added a veteran presence to the rotation for the Raiders, who have had three freshmen and a transfer start at least one game this season.

Baldwin-Wallace (8-5, 3-3) enters the game on a two-game skid. They lost a pair of close games on the road to John Carroll and Marietta a week ago. The Yellow Jackets like to push the tempo, averaging 75.8 points per game on the season.

Forward Kyle Payne (6-6) leads the way for Baldwin-Wallace with team-best averages of 13.7 points and 5.9 rebounds. He is joined on the interior by 6-6 Chris Ameen and 6-7 Tyler Ferrell, who share the team lead with eight blocks. Ameen is averaging 8.2 points and 4.2 rebounds for the season, while Ferrell is averaging 7.0 points and 4.8 rebounds.

Baldwin-Wallace has shown demonstrated that they have excellent shooting range, ranking third in the conference in three-pointers (7.3). Grant Fairhurst (30), Kevin Krakowiak (21), and Jaron Crowe (18) have led the way on trifectas for the Yellow Jackets. Krakowiak is second on the team in scoring at 12.7 points per game and Crowe has a team-best 40 assists.

Look for the Yellow Jackets to play as many as 12 players as part of their rotation. Point guard Promis Cabbil, who was been a scorer in previous seasons, has become more of a distributor this season. Ben Umbel is second on the team in rebounding (5.0) and adds 6.5 points per game. Aaron Selmek, Brandon Schmidt, and Scott Branchick will also see action.

Re-writing the Record Books

Senior Jimmy Wood became the 26th player in school history to score 1,000 career points, reaching the milestone against Wilmington on December 17th. Wood currently ranks 20th on the school's career scoring list with 1,087 career points and needs six points to surpass Chick Campbell for 19th place. He scored 22 points in the Purple Raiders' 71-66 win over Ohio Northern on Saturday. At his current pace, Wood will end his career as one of the top ten scorers in school history.

While the scoring record is out of reach for Wood, there are a few records that he has a chance to break. The records for most consecutive games played and three-point field goals in a season could fall by season's end.

The Raiders tied a pair of school records at the Basinger Tournament earlier in the week. They made 13 three-pointers in both games, tying the school record set against Baldwin-Wallace during the 1996-97 season. Their 33 three-point field goal attempts Tuesday against Lycoming set the school record set in the season-opener against Hiram.

At the halfway-point of the season, the Raiders are on pace to destroy the record for most three-pointers in a season. The current record, set during the 2008-09 season, is 189 and the Raiders have made 112 already this season.

Raiders Rank Among Nation's Best

Mount Union has a player among the top 100 nationally in four statistical categories this season.

Category

Player

Number

Rank

Points Per Game

Jimmy Wood

20.5

33

Three-Point Field Goals Per Game

Jimmy Wood

2.8

48

Three-Point Field Goal Percentage

Jimmy Wood

.451

29

Assist-to-Turnover Ratio

Justen Little

5.22

2

Last Meeting

Mount Union trailed 38-35 at halftime, but battled back to tie the game at 43-43 early in the second half. Baldwin-Wallace scored the next seven points and led by as many as 15 points on its way to an 80-69 victory in Berea.

Dave Pellerite poured in a game-high 24 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds to lead the way for Mount Union. Jimmy Wood had 15 points and Matt Wier added 11 points off the bench.

Chris Ameen scored 20 points and was joined in double-figures by Kevin Krakowiak and Grant Fairhurst. Krakowiak scored 19 points and was 10-of-10 from the foul line. Fairhurst score 12 points on four three-pointers.

Projected Mount Union Starters

  • #32 Stevie Griffin, 6-3, Fr., G – 8.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg, .465 3FG%
  • #4 Jimmy Wood, 6-6, Sr., F – 20.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg, .451 3FG %
  • #45 Matt Kiger, 6-5, Jr., C – 5.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg
  • #20 Nate Jacubec, 5-11, Fr., G – 11.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.2 apg
  • #3 Justen Little, 5-11, Jr., G – 1.8 ppg, 3.6 apg, 2.6 rpg

Projected Baldwin-Wallace Starters

  • #30 Ben Umbel, 6-3, So., G – 6.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.5 spg
  • #23 Tyler Ferrell, 6-6, So., F – 7.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg
  • #50 Kyle Payne, 6-9, Sr., C – 13.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg
  • #14 Kevin Krakowiak, 5-11, So., G – 12.7 ppg, 21 3FG
  • #10 Promis Cabbil, 5-11, Sr., G – 3.7 ppg

Coaches

Mike Fuline (Kent State '98) is in his first season at Mount Union after a successful career at the high school level that included winning the 2010 OHSAA Division I State Championship at Massillon Jackson. Fuline has the Purple Raiders off to a 5-8 start.

Duane Sheldon (Baldwin-Wallace '93) has a 39-50 record in his fourth season at his alma mater. Sheldon came to Baldwin-Wallace after six seasons as the head coach at Heidelberg, making him the only current OAC coach to have been the head coach at multiple schools within the conference. He has an overall career coaching record of 103-143.

The Series

This will be the 126th meeting all-time between Mount Union and Baldwin-Wallace. The Yellow Jackets hold a decisive 78-47 advantage in the series. The teams split the two meetings a season ago with the home team winning each game.

Up Next

Mount Union returns home to host Heidelberg on Saturday at 3 pm. It will be the Raiders' first home game of the New Year after playing four games away from the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex in Alliance. They will then go on the road for three straight OAC games.

Mount Union Player Notes

Tom Berlekamp - Jr., F, North Royalton/Holy Name

  • Played and started in 7 games this season
  • Averaging 2.6 ppg and 5.7 rpg
  • Season-high/career -high in points (7), rebounds (14), and assists (4) vs. Grove City (11/18/11)
  • Season-high/career -high 5 steals at Geneva (11/19/11)
  • Transferred from Lakeland Community College

Jimmy Darnley - So., F, Canton/GlenOak

  • Averaging 6.1 mpg in eight games off the bench
  • Career-high 5 points at Ohio Northern (2/12/11)
  • Career-high 4 rebounds vs. Wilmington (2/5/11)

T.J. Gillespie - So., G, Toledo/St. John's

  • Averaging 6.6 ppg
  • Scored 14 points at Lycoming last Tuesday (1/3/12)
  • Has scored in double-figures three times this season
  • Missed two games earlier in the season due to an injury
  • Season-high 19 points vs. Grove City (11/18/11)
  • Career-high 20 points vs. Ohio Northern (1/8/11)
  • Career-high 5 assists vs. Otterbein (1/22/11)

Stevie Griffin - Fr., F, Canton/Massillon Jackson

  • Third on team in scoring (8.4) and three-pointers (20)
  • Has scored in double-figures five times this season
  • Made first collegiate start and made game-winning shot at Ohio Northern (1/7/11)
  • Coaches vs. Cancer Tip-Off Tournament MVP
  • Season-high/career -high 22 points and 6 three-pointers off the bench at Geneva (11/19/11)
  • Season-high/career -high 8 rebounds and 4 assists vs. Westminster (11/22/11)
  • Played for Coach Fuline and won 2010 OHSAA Division I state title at Massillon Jackson High School

Nate Jacubec - Fr., G, Struthers/Struthers

  • Second on team in scoring (11.0), three-pointers (24) and assists (28)
  • Has scored in double-figures nine times this season
  • Matched season-high/career -high with 17 points at Lycoming (1/3/12)
  • Season-high/career -high 4 three-pointers at Lycoming (1/3/12)
  • Season-high/career -high 8 rebounds vs. Wilmington (12/17/11)
  • Matched season-high/career -high with 5 assists at Lycoming (1/3/12)

Matt Kiger - Jr., F, Williamstown, W.Va./Williamstown

  • Averaging 5.8 ppg and 3.3 rpg
  • Leads the team in field goal percentage (.711)
  • Has started the past four games after coming off the bench in the first nine
  • Season-high 11 points three times, most recently vs. Muskingum (12/21/11)
  • Season-high 6 rebounds at Waynesburg (11/26/11) and vs. Muskingum (12/21/11)
  • Career-high 20 points at Otterbein (12/4/10) and vs. Waynesburg (12/30/10)
  • Career-high 9 rebounds vs. Waynesburg (12/30/10)

Justen Little - Jr., G, Galion/Galion

  • Second in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (5.22)
  • Ranks second in the conference in assists (3.6)
  • Season-high/career -high 7 points at Ohio Northern (1/7/12)
  • Season-high/career -high 7 rebounds at Ohio Northern (1/7/12)
  • Season-high/career -high 7 assists vs. Otterbein (12/3/11) and vs. Wilmington (12/17/11)

Clayton Patton - Fr., G, Bolivar/Tuscarawas Valley

  • Averaging 5.1 ppg in 10.4 mpg
  • Scored 10 points at Lycoming (1/3/12), reaching double-figures for the second time this season
  • Made first career start vs. Muskingum (12/21/11)
  • Season-high/career -high 11 points at Capital (12/10/11)

Colton Troyer - Jr., F, Millersburg/Berlin Hiland

  • Averaging 6.2 mpg in eight games off the bench
  • Transferred from Hesston College (Kan.)

Matt Wier - Sr., F, New Castle, Pa./Mohawk

  • Averaging 5.8 ppg and 4.2 rpg
  • Season-high 19 points vs. Hiram (11/15/11)
  • Career-high 28 points vs. Ohio Northern (12/12/09)
  • Career-high 9 rebounds at Hiram (11/15/10), vs. Waynesburg (12/30/10), and vs. Hiram (11/15/11)
  • Played one season on a baseball scholarship at West Virginia

Jimmy Wood - Sr., F, Wintersville/Indian Creek

  • Leads the conference in scoring (20.5)
  • Leads the team in rebounding (6.5) and 3-pointers (35)
  • Has scored 20+ points seven times this season
  • Ranks 20th on school's all-time scoring list with 1,087 career points
  • Scored 1,000th career point on three-pointer to go ahead by 2 points with less than a minute remaining in regulation vs. Wilmington (12/17/11)
  • Recorded third career double-double with 29 points and career-high 16 rebounds vs. Immaculata (1/22/12)
  • Set Louis Fleming Basinger Memorial Tournament scoring record with 29 points against Immaculata (1/22/12) and was named to the all-tournament team
  • Season-high/career -high 32 points vs. Wilmington (12/17/11)
  • Season-high/career -high 16 rebounds vs. Immaculata (1/22/12)
  • Father, Jim, played basketball at Georgia Tech
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