By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
ALLIANCE, Ohio – Capital University Men's Basketball had to battle the weather to get to Alliance to face the University of Mount Union Purple Raiders on Saturday but after arriving, the Crusaders found themselves in a battle with a Mount Union team looking to turn its fortunes around. Thanks to a strong second half, that's exactly what Mount Union did as the Purple Raiders beat Capital 82-70.
The Crusaders got on the board first thanks to two free throws from Cameron Caldwell (Westerville, Ohio/Westerville South) and built up a 13-4 lead fewer than five minutes in. That nine-point lead was Capital's largest of the game.
Mount Union quickly responded to the early run with a 15-6 scoring spree of its own to tie the contest at 19 with about 10 minutes to go until halftime. The two team traded baskets until the break and Mount Union led 35-33 heading into the second half.
The Purple Raiders got things going quickly once play resumed with five straight points, a layup from Diallo Niamke and three free throws from Nathan Bower-Malone.
Mount Union continued to grow its lead but Capital was able to keep the Raiders within striking distance. A Dan Auble (Brecksville, Ohio/Brecksville) three-point jumper made it a four-point game at 48-44 with 14:09 left in the game. From there, Mount Union started to take control.
An 11-2 run for Mount Union extended the lead to 59-46 with 11 minutes to play and the lead was grown to 15 with 8:50 left in the game. A three-pointer and jump shot from Joey Weingartner (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) cut the deficit to single digits with seven minutes left but for every Crusader score, it seemed that the Raiders were able to get two.
Bower-Malone led all scorers with 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting and stuffed the statsheet with six rebounds and six assists. Austin Schreck (Erlanger, Ky./Dixie Heights) paced Capital with 15 points and snagged five boards. Will Hannah (Milford, Ohio/Milford) and Weingartner finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
As a team, Capital shot better than 45 percent from the field, including 10-of-19 from behind the arc, but allowed Mount Union to connect on 52.6 percent of their shots. While Capital had the edge away from the rim, Mount Union won the battle down low with more rebounds (34-28) and more points in the paint (38-20).
The 7-8 Crusaders (3-5 Ohio Athletic Conference) will hit the road again on Wednesday, Jan. 17 to take on the Marietta College Pioneers at 7 p.m.