Men's Basketball: Mount Union Wins OAC Tournament Championship

Photo By: Assante' Ndongo
Photo By: Assante' Ndongo

ALLIANCE, Ohio - Mount Union erased an 11-point halftime deficit to win the Ohio Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Tournament title over John Carroll 85-74 Saturday night. It is the Purple Raiders third ever tournament title and first since the 2014-2015 season.

Mount Union, now 25-3 overall, claim the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with the selections being announced Monday at 12:30 p.m. on NCAA.com. Mount Union has won 17-straight games which breaks a school record for most consecutive wins.

The Purple Raiders got a game-high 32 points from OAC Tournament Most Valuable Player Collen Gurley (Akron / Hoban). Gurley connected on his fourth three of the night which broke the school record with most three's made in a season with 88 threes'.

Senior teammates Nathan Bower-Malone (Stow) scored 16 and D'Vontay Friga (Cuyahoga Falls) had 11 points as both named to the all-tournament team. Junior Logan Hill gave Mount Union a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Mount Union started the game on an 9-0 run, but John Carroll responded with an 8-0 run of its own. Both teams traded baskets with seven lead changes and four ties throughout the first half until John Carroll finished the final five minutes on a 14-4 run to take a 47-36 lead into halftime.

John Carroll led 51-41 with 18 minutes remaining but Gurley scored four straight points and then Bower-Malone scored five to get the Raiders within a point. Gurley connected on his school record breaking three to tie the game at 58 which was part of a 12-0 run that Mount Union put together to lead 65-58 with 9:36 remaining. The Blue Streaks got within three once the rest of the way.