The Mount Union men's basketball team begins the second half of their Ohio Athletic Conference schedule when they travel to Westerville to take on Otterbein Saturday for a 7:30 pm tip-off. The Cardinals defeated the Purple Raiders earlier in the season in Alliance.
The Purple Raiders (7-8, 3-6) have won four of six games streak since the New Year. They lost to Marietta Wednesday night, 80-78 in overtime. It was the fourth conference loss for the Raiders that came in overtime or by three points or less. Otterbein (5-11, 2-7) has lost six straight games and has not won an OAC game since December 7th. They lost 97-64 to Baldwin-Wallace Wednesday night.
The Purple Raiders are scoring 68.8 points per game while allowing opponents to score 66.4 points per game on the season. The Raiders have been among the conference's top three-point shooting teams, ranking second in both three-pointers (8.47 per game) and three-point percentage (.368). Forwards Jimmy Wood (Wintersville/Indian Creek) and Stevie Griffin (Canton/Massillon Jackson) rank among the top three in the conference three-point percentage and guard Nate Jacubec (Struthers/Struthers) joins them among the top ten in three-pointers.
Wood has led the way for the Raiders this season, leading the way in scoring (19.6), rebounding (5.8) and steals (23). Jacubec is second on the team in scoring at 10.7 points per game and is shooting 83.7-percent from the charity stripe. Griffin, who is third on the team in scoring (9.4), has averaged 14.0 points per game since being inserted into the starting lineup four games ago.
Point guard Justen Little (Galion/Galion) is second in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (4.46) and second in the conference with 3.6 assists per game. Little scored a career-best 10 against Heidelberg on Saturday.
Otterbein ranks eight in the OAC in both scoring (68.6) and scoring defense (74.9). The Cardinals have done a poor job of protecting their home court with a 1-5 record in Westerville. That lone win came over Wisconsin-Platteville in their most recent win on December 28th.
All-OAC Chris Davis (6-6) is the conference's top rebounder and ranks 15th in the nation at 10.8 rebounds per game. He is also sixth in the conference in in scoring (15.7) and has a conference-best seven double-doubles.
Three other Cardinals are averaging double-digit points on the season. Guard RaNeal Ewing (13.8), wing Brice Rausch (13.4), and forward Max VanMeter (10.9) have all helped carry the scoring load.
Mount Union saw its 29-23 halftime lead disappear quickly as Otterbein used a 21-4 run midway through the second half to take control. The Cardinals, who led by as many as 14 points, scored 59 points in the half for the 82-79 victory in Alliance.
Jimmy Wood made five three-pointers on his way to a game-high 29 points. Nate Jacubec scored 12 points and Matt Kiger added 11 points off the bench.
Chris Davis recorded a double-double with a season-best 29 points and 11 rebounds (season-best seven offensive). Max Van Meter (18 points) and RaNeal Ewing (17 points) also reached double-digits for the Cardinals.
This will be the 102nd meeting all-time between with Otterbein holding a 61-40 advantage in the series. The schools have split the season series each of the past four years.
Projected Mount Union Starters
- #32 Stevie Griffin, 6-3, Fr., G – 9.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg, .467 FG%
- #4 Jimmy Wood, 6-6, Sr., F – 19.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg, .438 3FG %
- #45 Matt Kiger, 6-5, Jr., C – 4.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg
- #20 Nate Jacubec, 5-11, Fr., G – 10.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.1 apg
- #3 Justen Little, 5-11, Jr., G – 2.6 ppg, 3.6 apg, 3.0 rpg
Projected Marietta Starters
- #30 Brice Rausch, 6-3, Sr., W – 13.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg
- #52 Zach Bakenhaster, 6-5, Jr., F/C – 4.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg
- #50 Chris Davis, 6-6, Sr., C – 15.7 ppg, 10.8 rpg
- #24 RaNeal Ewing, 5-11, Fr., G – 13.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg
- #22 Mark Louks, 5-11, Sr., PG – 2.2 ppg
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 7-9 start.
Dick Reynolds (Otterbein '65) is in his 40th season at his alma mater. Reynolds boasts a 648-420 career record, making him the winningest coach in OAC history and ranking sixth among Division III coaches all-time. A nine-time OAC Coach of the Year, Reynolds guided the Cardinals to the 2002 NCAA Division III National Championship and was inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.
Mount Union will plays its seventh and final January game away from the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex on Wednesday night at John Carroll. The Raiders will play their next home game on January 28th against Capital.
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 18th on the school's career scoring list with 1,135 career points and needs 17 points to surpass Zettie Sims for 17th place. He scored 17 points in the Purple Raiders' 80-78 overtime loss to Marietta on Wednesday. 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 have tied a pair of school records this season. They made 13 three-pointers in back-to-back games against Immaculata (Pa.) and Lycoming (Pa.), tying the school record set against Baldwin-Wallace during the 1996-97 season. Their 33 three-point field goal attempts against Lycoming beat the school record previously set in the season-opener against Hiram.
At the halfway-point of the season, the Raiders are on pace to set 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 120 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.
Points Per Game
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game
Three-Point Field Goal Percentage
Mount Union Player Notes
Tom Berlekamp - Jr., F, North Royalton/Holy Name
- Played in eight games this season, making seven starts
- Averaging 2.8 ppg and 5.1 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 6.3 mpg in 10 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 7.3 ppg
- Has scored in double-figures five 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 (9.4) and three-pointers (28)
- Has scored in double-figures six times this season
- Scored the go-ahead points in wins over Ohio Northern and Baldwin-Wallace last week
- 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 (10.7), and assists (34) and third in three-pointers (26)
- 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 4.9 ppg and 2.9 rpg
- Leads the team in field goal percentage (.614)
- Has started the past seven 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 (4.46)
- Ranks second in the conference in assists (3.6)
- Season-high/career-high 10 points vs. Heidelberg (1/14/12)
- 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 4.6 ppg in 9.2 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 6.1 mpg in nine games off the bench
- Transferred from Hesston College (Kan.)
Matt Wier - Sr., F, New Castle, Pa./Mohawk
- Averaging 5.0 ppg and 3.6 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 (19.6)
- Leads the team in rebounding (5.8) and 3-pointers (42)
- Has scored 20+ points seven times this season
- Ranks 18th on school's all-time scoring list with 1,135 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