January 9, 2014

Men's Basketball: First Place Raiders Travel to Ohio Northern Saturday

Mount Union's men's basketball team returns to Ohio Athletic Conference action Saturday at 3 pm at Ohio Northern in Ada.

There will be a LIVE VIDEO feed and LIVE STATS at http://livestats.prestosports.com/mountunion

The Purple Raiders (9-2, 4-0 OAC) have won seven straight games and are alone in first place in the OAC.

Ohio Northern (7-5, 3-2 OAC) has won five of its last six games including a 78-73 home win Wednesday against No. 19 ranked Marietta.

Mount Union is No. 2 in the conference in scoring offense (90.0 ppg) while Ohio Northern is No. 3 in the conference in scoring defense (73.5 ppg).

The two teams are also the top two three-point teams in the OAC as Ohio Northern has made 40.2 percent (80-of-199) of its shots from beyond the arc while Mount Union is at 39.2 percent with a conference-best 132 made three pointers.

The Raiders feature a balanced attack as five players average in double figures.  Cody Dillon (Newton Falls/Newton Falls) averages a team-best 13.6 points per game, followed by T.J. Gillespie (Toledo/Toledo St. John's) and Jarrett Ruffin (Northfield/Nordonia) each at 12.7 points per game, Nate Jacubec (Struthers/Sturthers) at 10.2 points per game and Kyle Scelza (Stow/Stow) at 10.0 points per game.

Ruffin also leads the team and is sixth in the OAC in rebounding at 6.4 rebounds per game while Gillespie is in the top five in the OAC in both assists (52) and steals (18).

Ohio Northern is led by the all-conference senior duo of Branden Rushton and Dominique Royal. 

Rushton is a three-time All-OAC selection that is the conference's leading scorer at 18.8 points per game while Royal averages 11.8 points and a team-best 5.1 rebounds per game.

SERIES

This will be the 88th meeting all-time between the teams with Ohio Northern holding a 56-31 advantage in the series.  Mount Union has won six of the last 10 meetings including a 72-57 in Ada a year ago.

COACHES

Mike Fuline (Kent State '98) is 33-32 in his third year as head coach at Mount Union.  A year ago, he led the Raiders to their highest win total in seven years and a run to the OAC Tournament title game. Prior to Mount Union, Fuline was a high school coach for eight years at both Rootstown and Massillon Jackson.  In 2010, his Jackson team won the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I State Championship.

Kevin Byrne (Carnegie Mellon, Pa. '96) is 20-19 in his second year as head coach at Ohio Northern.  Byrne had 13 years of assistant coaching experience at MIT, Marietta and his alma mater -- Carnegie Mellon and played professional basketball for three seasons in Europe before coming to Ohio Northern.

UP NEXT ...

Mount Union returns home to play OAC front runners Marietta (Wed., Jan. 15 at 7:30 pm) and Wilmington (Sat., Jan. 18 at 3 pm) next week.

MOUNT UNION PROJECTED STARTERS

Cody Dillon – So., G., 6-4, Newton Falls / Newton Falls – 13.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg
T.J. Gillespie
– Sr., G., 5-11, Toledo / Toledo St. John's – 12.7 ppg, 4.6 apg, 1.3 spg
Jarrett Ruffin – So., F., 6-6, Northfield / Nordonia – 12.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.3 bpg
Nate Jacubec – Jr., G., 5-11, Struthers / Struthers – 10.2 ppg, 2.9 apg, 1.3 spg
Jimmy Darnley – Sr., F., 6-5, Canton / GlenOak – 7.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg

MOUNT UNION PLAYER NOTES

T.J. Gillespie - Sr., G, 5-11 - Toledo/St. John's

  • Has started all 11 games this season
  • Has scored in double figures in nine games this season
  • Season-high/career-high 22 points vs. Hartwick (N.Y.) (11/30/13)
  • Season-high/career-high 10 assists at Rochester (N.Y.) (12/1/13)
  • Season-high/career-high 5 steals vs. Westminster (Pa.) (1/3/14)
  • Holiday Inn Airport Tournament All-Tournament Team
  • Played in 82 career games

Jimmy Darnley - Sr., F, 6-5 - Canton/GlenOak

  • Has played in all 11 games this season with nine starts
  • Has scored in double figures in five games this season
  • Season-high/career-high 13 points at Rochester (N.Y.) (12/1/13)
  • Season-high/career-high 11 rebounds vs. John Carroll (12/4/13)
  • Recorded first career double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds) vs. John Carroll (12/4/13)
  • Played in 73 career games

Nate Jacubec - Jr., G, 5-11 - Struthers/Struthers

  • Has started all 11 games this season
  • Has scored in double figures in six games this season
  • Season-high 19 points vs. Westminster (1/3/14)
  • Season-high 7 assists vs. Olivet (12/29/13)
  • Season-high 4 steals vs. Olivet (12/29/13)
  • Career-high 31 points at Wilmington (1/16/13)
  • Career-high 6 three-pointers at Wilmington (1/16/13)
  • Career-high 10 rebounds at Westminster (11/16/12) and at Baldwin Wallace (12/20/12)
  • Career-high 7 assists at Hiram (11/24/12) vs. Olivet (12/29/13)
  • Career-high 4 steals vs. Finlandia (12/30/12) vs. Olivet (12/29/13)
  • Has played in 63 career games with 62 career starts
  • 2012 OAC Freshman of the Year
  • 2013 All-OAC Second Team, 2013 D3Hoops.com All-Great Lakes Region Third Team

Stevie Griffin - Jr., F., 6-3 - Canton/Massillon Jackson

  • Has started two games this season
  • Season-high 9 points at Pitt-Greensburg (11/16/13)
  • Career-high 25 points at Wilmington (1/12/13)
  • Career-high 4 assists, two times with last at Ohio Northern (2/9/13)
  • Career-high 6 three-pointers at Geneva (11/19/11)
  • Career-high 8 rebounds vs. Westminster (11/22/11) and at Muskingum (2/1/12)
  • Brother of teammate Miles Griffin

Jarrett Ruffin – So., F., 6-6 - Northfield/Nordonia

  • Has started all 11 games this season
  • Has scored in double figures in nine games this season
  • Season-high/career-high 31 points vs. Olivet (12/29/13)
  • Season-high 4 blocks vs. Hartwick (N.Y.) (11/30/13)
  • Season-high/career-high 13 rebounds at Heidelberg (12/7/13)
  • Career-high 4 blocks vs. Marietta (2/13/13) and vs. Hartwick (N.Y.) (11/30/13)
  • Season-high/career-high three assists vs. Westminster (Pa.) (1/4/14)
  • Recorded two double-doubles this season - 16 points & 13 rebounds at Heidelberg (12/7/13), 13 points & 11 rebounds vs. Otterbein (12/14/13)
  • Played in 38 career games with 23 starts
  • 2013 OAC Freshman of the Year
  • 2013 D3Hoops.com Great Lakes Rookie of the Year

Cody Dillon - So., G., 6-4 - Newton Falls/Newton Falls

  • Has started all 11 games this season
  • Has scored in double figures in six games this season
  • Season-high/career-high 35 points vs. John Carroll (12/4/13) 
  • Season-high/career-high 8 rebounds at Pitt-Greensburg (11/16/13)
  • Season-high/career-high 8 three-pointers vs. John Carroll (12/4/13)
  • Career-high 6 assists vs Thiel (11/17/12)
  • Tied school single-game record for 3-pointers made – 8 vs. John Carroll (12/4/13)
  • Ohio Athletic Conference record for 3-point percentage in a game - .727 (8-of-11) vs. John Carroll (12/4/13)
  • Holiday Inn Airport Tournament All-Tournament Team
  • Started every game of his college career - 38 games
  • 2013 OAC All-Tournament Team

Kyle Scelza - So., G., 6-1 - Stow/Stow-Munroe Falls

  • Has played in all 11 games this season
  • Has scored in double figures in seven games this season
  • Season-high/Career-high 18 points vs. Westminster (Pa.) (1/4/14)
  • Season-high 5 rebounds at Pitt-Greensburg (11/16/13) and vs. John Carroll (12/4/13)
  • Season-high 3 assists at Bethany (W.Va.) (11/19/13)
  • Career-high 6 rebounds and 4 assists vs Pitt-Greensburg (11/20/12)
  • Career-high 5 three-pointers vs. John Carroll (12/4/13)
  • Career-high 4 steals vs John Carroll (1/23/13)
  • Has played in 39 consecutive games (every game of career)

Evan Keeslar - So., G., 6-3 - Uniontown/Green

  • Has played in all 11 games this season
  • Season-high/Career-high 18 points vs. Baldwin Wallace (12/18/13)
  • Season-high/Career-high 8 rebounds vs. Westminster (Pa.) (1/3/14)
  • Season-high/Career-high 5 assists vs. Westminster (Pa.) (1/3/14)
  • Has played in 39 consecutive games (every game of career)

Michael Shull - So., G., 5-10 - Massillon/Massillon Jackson

  • Has played in all 11 games this season
  • Season-high/Career-high 8 points vs. Westminster (Pa.) (1/3/14)
  • Season-high/Career-high 2 assists vs. Westminster (Pa.) (1/3/14)
  • Season-high/Career-high 2 rebounds vs. Westminster (Pa.) (1/3/14)

Jeff Foreman – Fr., G., 6-2 - Mentor/Mentor

  • Has played in all 11 games this season
  • Season-high/Career-high 17 points at Pitt-Greensburg (11/16/13)
  • Season-high/Career-high 6 assists vs. John Carroll (12/4/13)
  • Season-high/Career-high 5 rebounds vs. Otterbein (12/14/13)
  • Season-high/Career-high 2 steals vs. Westminster (Pa.) (1/3/14)

DeAllen Jackson – Fr., G., 5-11 - Akron/Archbishop Hoban

  • Has played in 10 games this season
  • Season-high/Career-high 9 points vs. John Carroll (12/4/13)
  • Season-high/Career-high 5 rebounds at Pitt-Greensburg (11/16/13)
  • Season-high/Career-high 5 assists vs. Hartwick (N.Y.) (11/30/13)
  • Season-high/Career-high 2 steals vs. Olivet (Mich.) (12/29/13)

Tyler Sherman – Fr., C., 6-7 - Norton/Norton

  • Has played in nine games this season
  • Season-high/Career-high 7 points vs. Otterbein (12/14/13)
  • Season-high/Career-high 8 rebounds vs. Hartwick (N.Y.) (11/30/13)
  • Season-high/Career-high 3 blocks vs. Westminster (Pa.) (1/3/14)
  • Season-high/Career-high 2 assists vs. Adrian (Mich.) (12/28/13)

Miles Griffin - Fr., G., 6-3 - Canton/Massillon Jackson

  • Has played in one game this season
  • Season-high/Career-high 4 points vs. Westminster (1/3/14)
  • Brother of teammate Stevie Griffin
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