NewsAthletes in Action Holds off Late MVNU Rally for 70-59 Win
written by Dave Parsons, Sports Information Director
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio - The Mount Vernon Nazarene University men’s basketball team tried to rally from a 20-point second-half deficit as the Cougars pulled to within six points, but Athletes in Action pulled away at the end for a 70-59 win in an exhibition game on Monday night in the Physical Education Center.
The game went back and forth in the first half as neither team led by more than five points over the first 14 minutes of action that featured four ties and four lead changes as the score was knotted at 20-20. Then, AIA closed the half on a 13-6 run to take a 33-26 lead at the break.
Sophomore wing Ryan Seesholtz led MVNU with 10 first-half points and six rebounds, while sophomore guard Andrew Thompson and sophomore post Mark Hess each tallied six points. The Cougars shot just 29.6 percent from the field (8-for-27) and committed 13 turnovers.
AIA was led by Eric Brand with nine points, while Greg Clausen grabbed seven rebounds. AIA out-rebounded MVNU 25-18 for the half, but they did commit 14 turnovers.
AIA extended its lead to 61-41 with 8:48 to play in the game as they opened the second half on a 28-15 run that was fueled by seven points from Eric Brand and six points each by Marco Piplovic and Ryan Menten.
However, MVNU did not give up as the Cougars whittled 14 points off the lead over the next seven minutes to close the gap to 65-59 with 1:58 left in the game. Seesholtz scored eight points during the comeback, and Thompson added five points.
AIA held MVNU at bay the rest of the way, though, as they scored the final five points of the game to post the 70-59 victory.
Seesholtz led all scorers with 18 points to go with a team-high 11 rebounds, while Hess added 13 points and six rebounds. Thompson finished with 11 points, and sophomore point guard Alan Bock tossed in nine points. The Cougars shot just 32.4 percent from the field (22-for-68) and 24.0 percent from three-point range (6-for-25).
Brand led AIA with 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Piplovic, Menten, and Jeff Platt each scored 10 points. Clausen grabbed 10 rebounds as AIA out-rebounded MVNU 52-36. The big story of the game, though, was bench scoring where AIA held a significant 28-2 advantage.
The Cougars will open the 2004-2005 season on November 5th at the Indiana Wesleyan University Tournament. MVNU’s first home game will be on November 12th against Trinity Christian (Ill.) College as part of the annual Homecoming activities.