Men's Basketball: Big Second Half Leads Mount Union Over Otterbein on Senior Day

Coach Fuline with the six seniors on Senior Day
Coach Fuline with the six seniors on Senior Day

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.