Men's Basketball: Top Seed Mount Union Hosts Otterbein in OAC Tournament Quarterfinals Tuesday

Photo by Joey Rees
Photo by Joey Rees

Mount Union hosts Otterbein in the quarterfinals of the Ohio Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Tournament Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. at the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex in Alliance.

The game will be broadcast locally on the radio on WDPN 1310 AM and also on WRMU 91.1 FM. Fans can follow the game with LIVE STATS and a LIVE VIDEO broadcast.

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. Mount Union season ticket holders must pay for their tickets at the door and reserved signs will be on their respective seats. No parent passes are accepted but OAC Lifetime passes are accepted.

The Purple Raiders (23-2 overall) are the tournament's No. 1 seed and won the conference's regular season title for the second straight year and 12th time overall. The 22-3 record is the best regular season record in school history for Mount Union.

Mount Union is third in the OAC in scoring at 84.5 points per game and lead the OAC in scoring defense allowing opponents 70.9 points per game.

Three Raiders average double digits in scoring for the Raiders, led by senior Nathan Bower-Malone (Stow) at 17.6 points per game, sophomore Collen Gurley (Akron / Hoban) at 16.5 points per game and senior D'Vontay Friga (Cuyahoga Falls) at 14.6 points per game. Bower-Malone, who won OAC Player of the Week honors for a fourth time this season this past week, is an OAC Player of the Year candidate as he also averages 5.6 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game. Sophomore Braedon Poole (McDonald) is the top rebounder at 5.9 per game.

No. 8 seed Otterbein (8-17, 3-15) is back in the tournament for the first time since 2014. The Cardinals come in off back-to-back losses at John Carroll and at Baldwin Wallace last week.

Otterbein is 10th in the conference in scoring at 67.2 points per game and sixth defensively allowing 73.0 points per game. Freshman Dallas Patrick is a favorite for OAC Freshman of the Year honors as he averages a team-best 17.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. Other double figure scorers are juniors in Mo Beavers (10.6 ppg) and Justin Carter (10.2 ppg).

Mount Union swept the season series between the teams winning 79-67 in Westerville and 99-72 in Alliance. The Raiders have won seven-straight and nine of the last 10 meetings between the teams.

Gone Streaking

Mount Union enters the tournament on a 14-game win streak. The Raiders have won all 11 home games this season and have won 28 of their last 29 games with the only loss over that span was a 79-75 loss in the OAC Tournament title game to Baldwin Wallace last year. The Mount Union record for consecutive wins is 16 by the 1996-96 team.

OAC Tournament History

It is the 60th OAC Tournament appearance for Mount Union and the Raiders have a 32-57 record and won titles in 1997 and 2015.

Otterbein is in its 51st OAC tournament and have compiled a 65-42 record with eight titles.

Mount Union and Otterbein have met six previous times in the OAC Tournament with each team winning three of those meetings.

2013 - #4 Mount Union 66, #8 Otterbein 60 (Second Round)

2004 - #6 Mount Union 82, #2 Otterbein 73 (Semifinals)

1997 - #1 Mount Union 92, #9 Otterbein 80 (Quarterfinals)

1991 - #1 Otterbein 101, #9 Mount Union 82 (Quarterfinals)

1990 - #1 Otterbein 98, #8 Mount Union 84 (Quarterfinals)

1984 - #4 Otterbein 75, #13 Mount Union 61 (First Round)

Up Next ...

The winner advances to the semifinals against the winner of a matchup between No. 4 seed Baldwin Wallace and No. 5 seed Heidelberg Thursday at 7 p.m. at the site of the higher seed.

Coaches

Mike Fuline (Kent State '98) is 158-86 (.647) in his ninth season at Mount Union.  Fuline has led Mount Union to four 20-win seasons, OAC regular season titles in 2013-14, 2018-19 and 2019-20 along with 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.

Andy Winters (Ohio Wesleyan '13) is 8-17 (.400) in his first season at Otterbein and has led the Cardinals back to the OAC Tournament for the first time since 2014. Winters was an assistant coach at Capital for five seasons before joining the Cardinals and helped lead the Crusaders to an OAC regular season title and NCAA Tourney appearance in 2019. An All-American point guard at Ohio Wesleyan, he also spent a year as an assistant coach at Ohio Dominican.

2020 Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament

Top eight of 10 teams qualify. Higher seeds host throughout. Rounds Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. 
Seedings: 1 Mount Union, 2 Marietta, 3 John Carroll, 4 Baldwin Wallace, 5 Heidelberg, 6 Capital, 7 Wilmington, 8 Otterbein

Date Away   Home   Time Links
Feb. 25 Otterbein   Mount Union   7:00 PM V A LS
  Capital   John Carroll   8:00 PM V LS
  Wilmington   Marietta   8:00 PM V LS
  Heidelberg   Baldwin Wallace   8:00 PM V LS A

 * V = Video / LS = Live Stats / A = Audio