Mount Union upsets Marietta for OAC Tournament Championship

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MARIETTA, Ohio — When Marietta and Mount Union clash in men's basketball, the two programs know how to make it exciting.

However, the Purple Raiders (22-6) got the best of the ninth-ranked Pioneers (25-3) to claim the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament championship with an 85-81 victory in front of 1,457 at Ban Johnson Arena on Saturday night (Feb. 28). It is Mount Union's first tournament championship since 1997.

Mount Union earns the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Tournament, while the Pioneers will have to wait and see if the committee feels 25 victories and a regular-season championship is enough to get one of 19 at-large bids. The announcement is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Monday on

Like all three meetings this season, this game was a back-and-forth affair that saw 10 lead changes. After playing to a 42-42 tie in the first half, Marietta jumped out to a quick five-point lead on a three-point basket by RaNeal Ewing and a jumper by Garrett Stephenson.

However, the Purple Raiders quickly erased the deficit and actually built an 11-point lead with 11:48 left in the game. Cody Dillon, who finished the game with 12 points, sparked the run with eight points, while Nate Jacubec added six of his 11 points during the run.

After a Marietta time out, the Pioneers cut the lead to four in about a minute after two free throws from Keith Richardson, and trailed by two after an Andy Stegman jumper with 9:04 left.

The Pioneers missed an opportunity to take control of the game, though. Mount Union didn't score for five minutes and Marietta could only manage a three-point lead (70-67) with 6:06 to play. The Purple Raiders broke out of the drought and scored 15 points over the final 5:49 of the game.

Mount Union recaptured the lead at 76-73 with 2:19 to play and never trailed again. Marietta did tie it at 76 but never got closer than 83-81. The Raiders sealed the victory by making 7-of-8 foul shots over the final 32 seconds.

Ewing led the Pioneers with 16 points, while Stephenson added 14 points and seven rebounds. Marietta's Eddy Grenert (13 points, eight rebounds), Andy Dollman (11 points) and Luis Garcia (10 points) also recorded double-digit scoring efforts. Dillon Young also had a solid outing with eight points and five assists.

JJ Kukura paced the Purple Raiders with 21 points, including 3-of-4 from behind the three-point arc. DeAllen Jackson added 20 points and four assists, while Nate Jacubec had 11 points and four assists.

Mount Union had another impressive shooting performance as the Raiders connected on 54.2 percent (32-of-59) of their shots.

Mount Union is 2-1 against the Pioneers this season, including victories in the last two meetings. The Raiders won in Alliance 102-92 on Feb. 11.

OAC All-Tournament Team
Jake Hollinger, John Carroll
Jake Fetherolf, Baldwin Wallace
RaNeal Ewing, Marietta
Eddy Grenert, Marietta
Nate Jacubec, Mount Union
DeAllen Jackson, Mount Union (MVP)