BEREA, Ohio--Mount Union's men's basketball team were defeated by Baldwin Wallace 79-69 in Ohio Athletic Conference action Wednesday evening at Ursprung Gymnasium.
The loss leaves the Purple Raiders at 19-5 overall and 13-4 in the OAC but they remain just a game behind first place Capital, who lost 67-62 at Wilmington, with one game left in the regular season. The regular season wraps up Saturday at 2 p.m. at the MAAC as Mount Union hosts No. 16 Capital and a Raider win gives them a share of conference title and potentially the No. 1 seed in next week's OAC Tournament.
Tommy Stenger (North Canton/Hoover) finished with a team-high 19 points, junior Nathan Bower-Malone (Stow) had 15 points and nine rebounds while senior Diallo Niamke (Sagamore Hills/Nordonia) tallied 15 points to pace Mount Union.
Baldwin Wallace (16-8, 10-7 OAC) was led by Jay Battle and Quiring Michael who both finished with 16 points apiece.
The Yellow Jackets opened up the game with a 21-14 lead then went on a 7-4 run to widen the gap to 28-18. The Raiders continued to battle back throughout the rest of the half with Bower-Malone sinking a three-pointer with 15 seconds left to shrink the deficit to 40-32 heading into the intermission break.
Both teams traded baskets to start the second half with Baldwin Wallace holding a 44-36 margin. The Raiders went on a 10-4 run sparked by a dunk from John Carroll (Massillon/Tuslaw) and a layup from Collen Gurley (Akron/Hoban) to slice the deficit to 48-46. Mount Union later cut the Yellow Jacket lead to one with a layup from Niamke at 51-50. Baldwin Wallace retaliated with a 17-9 run as the Yellow Jackets hit back-to-back three-point field goals to extend the lead to 68-59. Mount Union got as close as six in the closing minutes before Baldwin Wallace sank clutch free throws to take the game 79-69.