After a 311 day hiatus that felt like an eon, the Purple Raiders finally got to play meaningful basketball again for the first time since defeating York 90-77 in the second round the NCAA tournament when they traveled to Baldwin Wallace to open their season against the Yellow Jackets on January 22, 2021. The Raiders managed to extend their school record win streak to 20 games as they blew past the Yellow Jackets 109-82.
The Yellow Jackets were able to keep the game close for the first few minutes and even held a slim 13-11 lead after freshman Drew Wennes (Huron, OH/Huron HS) drilled a 3-point shot with 16:41 left in the opening half. From there on, it was all Raiders, though, as Mount Union proceeded to outscore Baldwin Wallace 47-24 over the remainder of the half. Mount Union’s offensive onslaught in the first half was led by junior Collen Gurley (Akron, OH/Archbishop Hoban HS). Gurley poured in 26 points in the first half and knocked down seven shots from 3-point range. The Raiders went to the locker room with a commanding 58-37 lead over the hosting Yellow Jackets.
The second half was much of the same for the Raiders as they continued to pummel the Yellow Jackets. The difference was the Raiders’ quintet of freshman who all found ways to contribute off the bench in the second half. Coach Fuline got 3 points from Donovan Morris (Northfield Center, OH/Walsh Jesuit HS), 12 points from Christian Parker (Canton, OH/Glenoak HS), 1 point from Andrew Pucci (Alliance, OH/Marlington HS), 10 points from Adam Chaney (Carrolton, OH/Carrolton HS) and 2 points from Jonah McCartney (North Canton, OH/Hoover HS). These second half points were the first of each freshman’s collegiate career apart from McCartney who had a layup in the first half to score his first points.
The Raiders walked out of Ursprung Gymnasium with a 109-82 win and 1-0 start to the season. The win put the Raiders in a multi-way tie for first place in the Ohio Athletic Conference with Heidelberg, Ohio Northern and Muskingum (Otterbein and Marietta did not play due to COVID-19 issues with Otterbein). Coach Fuline and his troops will continue to work to assert their position at the top of the conference on January 23, 2021 when they welcome Baldwin Wallace to the friendly confines of the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex for a 6:00 PM tip-off. You can hear the game live on WRMU 91.1 over the air or via our live stream. http://live.mystreamplayer.com/wrmu