The 10th ranked Mount Union Purple Raiders for one of the few times this season came into Wednesday night’s matchup at the MAAC as the underdog against the 2nd ranked Marietta Pioneers. Both teams came into the matchup riding long win streaks with Mount Union’s sitting at eight games and Marietta’s at sixteen games. One team would extend their streak and one would not. Unfortunately for the Raiders, they would witness their streak come to an end. Dominating from the opening tip the #2 Pioneers defeated the #10 Raiders by a final score of 84-64.
Early on in the game, the Pioneer defense proved to be too much for the Raiders to get in any offensive rhythm. Throughout the majority of the first half, the Raider offense was stagnant as Marietta would jump out to an early 29-8 lead twelve minutes into the game. The Raiders would begin to fare a little better towards the end of the half, but still trailed 43-18 at the half. For the first half, Mount Union shot just 24% from the floor. Despite the Raiders offense clicking more in the second half, the Raiders would never be able to cut the lead down to as little as 20 points. Mount Union would never have the lead in this one.
Christian Parker led the Raiders with 16 points and 8 rebounds. Mike Skeriotis added 13 points off the Raider bench while Chris Painter Jr. had 10 points. Senior Braedon Poole had a very active night on the defensive end, coming away with 5 blocks on the night. After the slow shooting start in the first half, Mount Union would shoot 59% in the second half to finish shooting 41% for the game. The Raiders bench also provided a positive spark for the team, accounting for 37 points. Mount Union, however, was outrebounded 47-29 by Marietta. With the Raiders being –18 in that department, this easily marked the largest rebounding differential Mount Union has surrendered all season.
Sahmi Willoughby led the Pioneers with a career-high 25 points and 15 rebounds. Of his 15 rebounds, 9 were offensive. The Pioneers as a team finished with 20 offensive rebounds, resulting in 32 second chance points. Tim Kreeger added 17 points; Jason Ellis finished with 14 and Mason Lydic had 12 points. The Pioneers shot a very efficient 47% from the floor in this one and continued to take care of the basketball, finishing with just 9 turnovers. Coming into this game, Marietta led the nation with the fewest turnovers per game. Marietta led this one wire to wire as they were able to build their lead to as much as 29 points in this game.
With the win, the 2nd ranked Pioneers improve to 19-2 on the season and a perfect 14-0 in OAC play. They have won 17 straight games and sit atop the OAC standings. With the loss, the 10th ranked Raiders drop to 18-3 on their season and 11-3 in OAC play. They are currently in second place in the OAC standings. The men’s basketball team will look to avenge their loss on Saturday as they travel to Capital to take on the Comets.
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