Men’s Basketball: Gurley’s Game Winning Layup Keeps Raiders Home Win Streak Alive

Collen Gurley (Photo by Sam Boyle)
Collen Gurley (Photo by Sam Boyle)

ALLIANCE, Ohio--Freshman Collen Gurley (Akron/Hoban) sank a last-second layup off a steal to give Mount Union a thrilling 86-84 victory over Wilmington in Ohio Athletic Conference action Friday evening at McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex.

Four Purple Raiders finished with double-digit point totals as senior Tommy Stenger (North Canton/Hoover) finished with a team-high 19 points, junior Nathan Bower-Malone (Stow) tallied 18 points, freshman Mario Caywood (Streetsboro/Benedictine) came off the bench to record a career-high 15 points while senior Andrew Francesconi ( Tallmadge) chipped in with 12 points. Mount Union is now 8-0 at home this season and has won 12 straight dating back to last year.

Wilmington (10-6, 6-4 OAC) was led by DaeShawn Jackson who tallied 19 points.

The Raiders jumped out to a quick 10-3 lead to start the game. The Quakers bounced back to cut the lead to three at 13-10. Mount Union then rattled off six unanswered points capped off by back-to-back layups from freshmen Gurley and Braedon Poole (McDonald) forcing a Wilmington timeout. Wilmington strung together a 13-2 run to take their first lead of the game at 36-32. The Quakers controlled a slim 39-38 lead into halftime.

Both teams came out shooting in the second half with Mount Union holding a small 56-51 lead after a Quaker timeout. Wilmington shrank the Raider advantage to one of a three-pointer. After Wilmington took a one-point lead, the Raiders forced two consecutive defensive stops to make the score to 63-60 in favor of Mount Union. Wilmington battled back to tie the game at 65. The lead would not grow more than two for either side throughout the closing four minutes. Wilmington made a five-point swing to take an 80-75 advantage with 56 seconds left. A deep three-pointer from Stenger narrowed the gap to 80-78. Following two Quaker free throws, Francesconi nailed a corner three-pointer to cut the lead to 82-81 with 21 seconds remaining. After Wilmington sank two clutch free throws, Bower-Malone hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 84. Gurley forced a steal and beat the buzzer to collect the victory for Mount Union 86-84.

It marked the ninth game of the season that the Raiders shot at least 50-percent from the floor as they went 35-of-61 (7-of-13 from behind the arc).

Mount Union (14-3, 8-2 OAC) travels to John Carroll on Wednesday, Jan 23 with a 7 p.m. start time.