Men's Basketball: Raiders Fall in OAC Title Game

Diallo Niamke (Photo by Ed Hall Jr.)
Diallo Niamke (Photo by Ed Hall Jr.)

ALLIANCE, Ohio -- Mount Union's men's basketball team was defeated by Baldwin Wallace in the finals of the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament 79-75 Saturday at the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex.

The Purple Raiders (22-6) were led by senior Diallo Niamke (Sagamore Hills/Nordonia) who finished with 21 points. Junior D'Vontay Friga (Cuyahoga Falls) tallied 18 points while junior Nathan Bower-Malone (Stow) and senior Tommy Stenger (North Canton/Hoover) recorded 11 and 10 points respectively. 

Stenger along with fellow senior Andrew Francesconi (Tallmadge) were named to the All-OAC Tournament Team.

Baldwin Wallace (20-8) was led by OAC Tournament MVP Jay Battle who finished with a game-high 35 points and Tyler Colombo, who had 11 points and 11 rebounds and was also named to the All-OAC Tournament team. The Yellow Jackets also claim the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Friga scored the first eight points for Mount Union to give the Raiders an early 8-6 lead. The Yellow Jackets tied the game at 13 off a layup. Baldwin Wallace then went on a 9-4 run to take a 23-17 advantage. The Yellow Jackets went into the intermission break up 38-35.

Mount Union started the second half with a 12-3 run to take a 48-41 lead off a jump shot from Bower-Malone. Baldwin Wallace retaliated with a 14-6 run to take control of the game at 55-54 with 12:52 left in regulation. The Raiders tied the game at 63 and later reestablished the lead with four straight free throws with 6:47 remaining. The Yellow Jackets once again connected on a 7-0 run to make the score 70-65 with 5:22 left. The Raiders chipped away at the deficit and tied the game at 70 with a three-pointer from Stenger with 2:42 remaining. Baldwin Wallace ended the game with a 9-5 run to take the victory 79-75.

The Raiders will await word from the NCAA on Monday to see if they will receive one of 20 national at large bids to the NCAA Tournament. 

2019 All-OAC Tournament Team

MVP - Jay Battle, Baldwin Wallace

Tyler Columbo, Baldwin Wallace

Tommy Stenger, Mount Union

Andrew Francesconi, Mount Union

Ryan Berger, John Carroll

Austin Schreck, Capital