The Otterbein men’s basketball team lost to Mount Union 66-61 Saturday afternoon in the Rike Center. Trailing by 16 points, the Cardinals mounted a comeback in the second half, but the Purple Raiders maintained the lead in the closing minutes.
With the loss, Otterbein drops to 6-15 overall and 3-11 in conference play. Mount Union improves to 17-4 and 11-3 in the league. Jay Joseph paced the Cardinals with a game-high 26 points. Other double-digit contributors for Otterbein included Justin Carter (11) and Maurice Beavers (10.)
At the start of the first half, the teams were trading leads. With a little over 12 minutes left in the first half, the visitors took a 15-14 lead, taking a 16-point lead with three minutes left until halftime. Otterbein would cut the deficit under double-digits as Mount Union went into the half, leading 40-31.
The Cardinals began to chip away at the visitors’ lead over the course of the second half. With 8:53 left to play in the game, the Cards closed the gap to 49-47. Mount Union responded with a 7-2 run, expanding its lead to 56-49 at the 5:02 mark.
Otterbein tied the game at 56-56 with just under three minutes remaining. Mount Union briefly regained the lead on a three-pointer by D’Vontay Friga before the Cardinals evened the score at 59-59 with 1:44 left in regulation.
Shortly after Otterbein tied the game, the Purple Raiders took the lead on a pair of free throws. Down 64-61 with 13 seconds left to play, the Cards missed a game-tying three pointer, with the visitors winning the game 66-61.
Mount Union received strong contributions from the bench, outscoring Otterbein 24-13. The Cardinals will next travel to Ohio Northern University Wednesday evening at 7 p.m.