Men's Basketball: No. 5 Purple Raiders Defeat Cairn to Advance to Second Round of NCAA Tournament

Collen Gurley Photo By: Joey Rees
Collen Gurley Photo By: Joey Rees

ALLIANCE, Ohio - Mount Union's men's basketball team defeated Cairn University 107-76, setting a school record for wins in a season with 26, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Friday night in the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex in Alliance.

The Purple Raiders (26-3) were led by sophomore Collen Gurley (Akron / Hoban) knocking down a school record 11 three's scoring a career-high 40 points. Senior guards D'Vontay Friga (Cuyahoga Falls) and Tanner Slack (New Concord / John Glenn) scored 17 and 14 respectively.

Cairn (18-10) was led by Dashawn Cain with 17 points.

Mount Union and Cairn were tied at eight after the first four minutes of play. The next four minutes of play saw the Raiders go on a 16-3 run fueled by two three pointers from Gurley and a three from Friga. Gurley connected on eight threes' in the first half to lead the Raiders in scoring with 24 while senior guard Nathan Bower-Malone (Stow) had six assists to lead Mount Union to a 56-31 lead at the half.

Gurley hit his 10th three to break the school record at the 13:30 mark left in the game giving Mount Union a lead of 75-45. Gurley connected on another three just 35 seconds later to get his 11th.

Cairn got no closer than 22 in the second half as Mount Union had its biggest lead of 31 twice in the second half.

With the win Mount Union's men's basketball team advances to the second round of the NCAA Tournament at 7:30 pm in Alliance against York (Pa.), who was an 88-67 winner over St. John Fisher. The doors will open at 6 p.m. for fans to buy tickets.