OCU Takes Malone University to the Wire in 95-93 Loss
CANTON, OH - The Ohio Christian Trailblazers took on NCAA Division II affiliate, Malone University on Friday night in what proved to be a back and forth battle to the wire. Malone came into the game having won two big games against Walsh University and Findlay University by 4 points and 3 points respectively.
OCU came out focused and opened up their largest lead of the game, at seven points, on two occasions in the first half, the latest coming with 5:54 left in the first frame at 31-24. But Malone battled back and regained the lead 40-39 at the intermission. OCU battled foul trouble on the road and surrendered 19 first half free throw attempts to Malone. The Pioneers came out strong in the second half, scoring the first 10 points before OCU got on the board again. Malone began to pull away and built its largest lead of the contest at 69-48 with 10:29 remaining and still held a 19-point advantage, at 79-60, with 7:28 left.
After trailing by 19, the Blazers went on a 19-6 run over the next 5 minutes. A layup by senior forward Mo Fall brought the Blazers to within 6 points with the score at 85-79 with 2:30 left. Malone battled back by converting 3 straight baskets but OCU would not go away quietly. OCU went 7 of 7 from the free throw line and hit a pair of three point shots in the final minute to make a final run, but it would be too little and too late as Malone held on for a 2 point win at home.
OCU was led my Mo Fall who racked up 29 points and 17 rebounds. Tirrell Cumberland scored 22 points for the Blazers. Wesley Russell had 11 points and 9 assists in the contest. James Nelson was big inside as he scored 11 points, grabbed 9 rebounds, and played strong defense with 2 blocks and 2 steals.
The Blazers outrebounded Malone 51-44 in the game with 18 of those rebounds being offensive rebounds. OCU had 15 assists compared to 14 for Malone. OCU also had a 22-8 advantage on 2nd chance points. Free throws were also a big factor in the game as OCU was whistled 30 times which resulted in a big advantage for Malone as they ended up hitting 31 of 39 free throws. Malone was whistled 23 times and OCU capitalized, hitting 27 of 34 free throws.
OCU is back in action on Saturday when they take on Walsh University at 2:00pm.