No. 4 Marietta reaches OAC Championship game with 17th straight win

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MARIETTA, Ohio — It will be a battle of the top two teams in the Ohio Athletic Conference as Marietta College and John Carroll University will meet for the OAC Men's Basketball Tournament Championship on Saturday (Feb. 27) in Ban Johnson Arena.

Top-seeded and No. 4-ranked Marietta easily defeated Baldwin Wallace University 91-66 Thursday evening in the semifinal round. No. 12-ranked John Carroll, seeded second, downed the University of Mount Union 93-74 to reach the title game.

The Pioneers and Blue Steaks split the season series with each winning on their home floor. The Championship will tip off at 7:30 p.m. with the OAC's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament at stake.

Marietta used a dominating inside game to eliminate the Yellow Jackets. The Pioneers outscored BW 56-26 in the paint. The trio of A.J. Edwards, Eddy Grenert and Jack Thome were just too much for Baldwin Wallace.

A.J. Edwards led Marietta with 16 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots. Thome came off the bench to score a career-high 13 points, while Grenert added 12 markers. Luis Garcia was also in double figures with 15 points.

Cameron Kuhn, the second leading scorer in the OAC, paced Baldwin Wallace with 19 points. Jay Battle notched 12 points and Jake Fetherolf grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.

It was nearly a perfect performance for the Pioneers as Marietta had a strong night shooting, took great care of the basketball and made the Yellow jackets earn every point with a harassing defense.

Marietta shot 52% from the floor and committed just six turnovers. On the defensive end of the floor the Pioneers forced 14 BW turnovers.

Baldwin Wallace managed an early lead but a jumper from Thome at the 13:35 mark knotted the game at 11. Marietta would score the next five points to lead by five, 16-11, and never trailed again in the game.

The Yellow Jackets trimmed MC's lead to seven at halftime, 37-30. But Marietta quickly pushed the margin into double digits early in the second half and it would stay that way.

The Pioneers were sizzling in the second half sinking 61% from the floor crushing any hopes of a BW comeback. A three-pointer from Dillon Young with 2:43 remaining extended the lead to 25 points, 83-58.

For the game, Marietta shot 52.0% (39-of-75) from the floor, 47.1% (8-of-17) from three-point range and 83.3% (5-of-6) from the line. The Yellow Jackets were 23-of-64 (35.9%) from the floor, 8-of-36 (22.2%) behind the arc and 12-of-14 (85.7%) at the line.

The Pioneers outrebounded Baldwin Wallace 42-37.