Mount Union hosts Baldwin Wallace in the Ohio Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Tournament championship game Saturday at 7:30 pm at the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex in Alliance.
Tickets for the game will be available at the door and are $8 for adults, $6 for senior citizens, and $3 for non-OAC students.
The Purple Raiders (22-5 overall) are the tournament's No. 2 seed and shared the conference's regular season title with Capital and Marietta. Mount Union beat No. 7 seed Heidelberg, 77-66 in the quarterfinals then defeated No. 6 seed John Carroll, 94-84 in the semifinals.
On the season, four players average double digits in scoring for the Raiders, led by junior Nathan Bower-Malone (Stow) at 13.0 points per game. Senior Tommy Stenger (North Canton / Hoover) and junior D'Vontay Friga (Cuyahoga Falls) average 11.5 and 11.4 points per game respectively while freshman Collen Gurley (Akron / Hoban) comes off the bench and scores 10. 3 points per game.
Mount Union has also won 17-straight home games dating back to a 73-66 loss to Ohio Northern on Jan. 20, 2018.
No. 5 seed Baldwin Wallace (19-8) has won a pair of road games at No. 4 seed Wilmington, 74-71, and at top-seeded Capital, 81-67.
Senior guard Jay Battle averages a team-best 17.7 points per game and is the OAC's third leading scorer.
During the regular season Mount Union and Baldwin Wallace split their two games, both winning on its respective home court. The first meeting ended in a 76-66 win in Alliance while the Yellow Jackets current four-game win streak started with a 79-69 win over Mount Union Feb. 13 in Berea.
OAC Tournament History
It is the 59th OAC Tournament appearance for Mount Union and the Raiders have a 30-56 record and won titles in 1997 and 2015. It is the sixth time the Raiders have been in the title game and first time at home since 1997.
Baldwin Wallace is in its 52nd OAC tournament and have compiled a 52-48 record with four titles. The Jackets last played in the title game in 2017 and their last title came in 2006.
Mount Union and Baldwin Wallace have met 13 previous times in the OAC tournament with Baldwin Wallace winning 10 of those games.
2018 - #4 Baldwin Wallace 84, #5 Mount Union 60 (Quarterfinals)
2005 - #6 Baldwin Wallace 82, #7 Mount Union 50 (Quarterfinals)
2004 - #6 Mount Union 80, #3 Baldwin Wallace 74 (Quarterfinals)
2003 - #3 Mount Union 67, #6 Baldwin Wallace 58 (Quarterfinals)
1998 - #6 Baldwin Wallace 72, #3 Mount Union 69 (Quarterfinals)
1996 - #4 Baldwin Wallace 81, #5 Mount Union 74, 2 OT (Quarterfinals)
1993 - #8 Baldwin Wallace 61, #9 Mount Union 50 (First Round)
1986 - #9 Baldwin Wallace 64, #8 Mount Union 63 (First Round)
1985 - #8 Baldwin Wallace 85, #9 Mount Union 72 (First Round)
1980 - #2 Baldwin Wallace 69, #7 Mount Union 62 (Northern Division 1st Round)
1978 - #2 Baldwin Wallace 80, #3 Mount Union 71 (Northern Division 2nd Round)
1974 - #2 Mount Union 59, #7 Baldwin Wallace 53 (Northern Division 1st Round)
1972 - #2 Baldwin Wallace 89, #4 Mount Union 88 (Northern Division 2nd Round)
Up Next ...
The winner receives an automatic bid to the 64-team NCAA Division III Tournament that begins next Friday, March 1. The selections will be announced at 1 p.m. Monday on NCAA.com.
Mike Fuline (Kent State '98) is 136-82 (.624) in his eighth season at Mount Union. Fuline has led Mount Union to three 20-win seasons, OAC regular season titles in 2013-14 and 2018-19 and an OAC Tournament title in 2015. In 2015, Mount Union got to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 18 seasons and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the second time in school history. Before coming to Mount Union, Fuline spent eight years as a high school head coach at Rootstown and Massillon Jackson. His 2010 Jackson team won the OHSAA Division I State Championship.
Tom Heil (Bluffton '07) is 68-41 (.624) in his fourth season as head coach at Baldwin Wallace. Heil was an assistant at BW for five seasons then took the head coaching job at Defiance. In his one year at Defiance, he led them to a conference title and the NCAA Tournament before returning to Baldwin Wallace.