ALLIANCE, Ohio – Mount Union's men's basketball team defeated Wilmington by a final score of 79-73 in an Ohio Athletic Conference matchup Saturday afternoon in the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex.
The Raiders, who had four players in double-figures, advance to 10-9 overall and 6-6 in the OAC. Francesoni led the way for the Raiders scoring 19 points and grabbing five rebounds. Also in double-figures was sophomore Nathan Bower-Malone (Stow) with 17 and senior Miles Griffin (Massillon/Jackson) with 14. Senior JJ Kukura (Alliance) recorded his second double-double this season as he posted 13 points and 11 rebounds.
The Fightin' Quakers, who were led by Christian Jones and Will Patrick with 19 and 18 points, respectively, drop to 8-10 overall and 4-8 in the OAC.
The Purple Raiders opened the game on an 11-2 run in the first five minutes behind six early points from Kukura. The Quakers tied the game at 18 with a 16-7 run over the next five minutes. Mount Union opened their largest lead of the half at 35-27 on a Griffin layup.
Francesoni scored 11 first half points and led the Purple Raiders into the locker room at halftime with a 41-36 lead.
With the Raiders leading 45-42, they extended their lead to 12 at 57-45 off a 12-3 run led by two three point field goals from Francesconi. Wilmington cut its deficit to three at 62-59 off a 14-5 run with 7:00 to play in the game.
The Raiders pulled away with a 10-2 run to push their lead back to 11 at 72-61 with 3:47 remaining. Over the next two minutes, Wilmington would go on a 9-2 run to cut their deficit to four before a Griffin layup ended the run with 1:16 remaining. Mount Union held off Wilmingto the rest of the way with free throws from Bower-Malone and D'Vontay Friga (Cuyahoga Falls).
Mount Union shot an even 50% from the floor (28-of-56) and 35% from distance (7-of-20). Wilmington shot just 30% from the floor (16-of-54) and 30% from distance (8-of-27). At the charity stripe, the Raiders were 16-of-21 (76%) while the Quakers were 33-of-36 (92%).
Next up for the Raiders is a road trip to No. 25 Marietta on Wednesday, January 31 at 7 p.m.