ALLIANCE, Ohio – Mount Union's men's basketball team defeated Otterbein Saturday afternoon in an Ohio Athletic Conference matchup by a final score of 86-77 on Senior Day in the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex.
Nathan Bower-Malone's (Stow) 26 second half points and 28 overall led the Raiders to a 13-12 overall record and an even 9-9 OAC record. Senior JJ Kukura (Alliance) posted another double-double for the Raiders as he posted 29 points and 11 rebounds.
Otterbein (1-24,1-17) was led by Corey Howard who posted 33 points while Matt Hughes had 17 points. Justin Carter also had double-figures with 11 points on the afternoon.
With all five seniors out on the floor, the Raiders led 14-10 led by two three-point baskets from Bryce Mathie (Louisville). With the score tied at 16, Otterbein went on a 9-2 run to open a lead at 25-18 with 9:17 remaining in the first half. Otterbein got the lead to eight at 27-19 but a short 6-0 run for the Raiders cut the deficit to two. The teams went into the half with Otterbein leading 29-25.
Bower-Malone opened the second half knocking down his first seven shots, five of them from distance for a quick 19 points just seven minutes into the second half. Mount Union regained the lead at 34-33 on Bower-Malone's third three of the half at the 18:00 mark. Both teams traded baskets up until the score was tied at 41 with 15:56 to play.
With the score 48-45 in favor of the Raiders, a 25-9 run for the Raiders over the next nine minutes put the score at 73-54 and put the game out reach for the Cardinals. The Cardinals got as close as seven at 83-76 off a 19-7 run with 1:20 remaining but the seniors knocked down free throws to seal the win.
Bower-Malone scored or assisted on 16 of the Raiders 21 field goals in the second half.
Mount Union was 30-of-63 (47.6%) from the floor and 12-of-24 (50%) from distance. In the second half alone, the Raiders were 21-of-32 (65.6%) from the floor and 8-of-11 (72.7%) from distance. Otterbein was 29-of-58 from the floor (50%) and 9-of-24 (37.5%) from distance.
The Raiders will be the 5-seed in the OAC Tournament and play at Baldwin Wallace on Tuesday, February 20th at 7:30 p.m.