ALLIANCE, Ohio – Mount Union's men's basketball team defeated Baldwin Wallace 74-61 in an Ohio Athletic Conference matchup Wednesday evening in the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex.
The Purple Raiders clinched a spot in next week's OAC Tournament with the win and advance their record to 12-12 and 8-9 in the conference.
Sophomore point guard Nathan Bower-Malone (Stow) had 19 of his game-high 30 points in the second half along with seven assists to lead the Purple Raiders. Mount Union also got 15 points, five rebounds and five assists from junior Andrew Francesconi (Tallmadge) while Diallo Niamke (Sagamore Hills/Nordonia) rounded out the double digit scorers with 15 points.
The Yellow Jackets drop to 16-8 overall and 10-7 in the OAC. Baldwin Wallace had four players in double-figures led by Jake Fetherolf with 14 points. Also in double-figures were Jay Battle and Michael Quiring with 11 each and Cam Kuhn with 10.
In a seemingly even first half, the Purple Raiders never relinquished the lead. With the Raiders leading 17-16, they opened their largest lead of the half at 31-22 on the back of a 14-6 run with 4:29 remaining.
The Jackets got back within two on a 7-0 run before a Bower-Malone old-fashioned three-point play ended the run with 1:20 remaining in the half. Mount Union ended the half on a short 5-2 run to send the teams to the locker room with the Raiders leading 36-31.
Baldwin Wallace opened the second half shooting 5-for-7 as they claimed its first lead of the game at 46-44 with 15:31 remaining. The teams continued to share baskets up until the Yellow Jackets were leading 55-54. The Raiders finished the game on a 19-7 run over the last 8:04 led by Bower-Malone's 13 points in that run to seal the game.
Mount Union shot 30-for-59 (51%) and 7-for-19 (37%) from distance while Baldwin Wallace was 25-for-57 (44%) and 7-for-22 (32% from distance.
The Raiders will honor their seniors this Saturday, February 17 at 2:00 p.m. against Otterbein. A win secures the No. 5 seed in next week's conference tourney.