DEFIANCE, Ohio - The Defiance College men's basketball team fell 75-62 to Ohio Wesleyan Monday night in the Purple and Gold Financial Tournament championship game inside the Karl H. Weaner Community Center.
The Yellow Jackets (8-2, 3-0 HCAC) were unable to sustain a rally against the Battling Bishops (9-2, 3-1 NCAC) in the final minutes and Ohio Wesleyan pulled away with nine free throws over the final 49 seconds.
Senior Ryan Hicks (Port Clinton, Ohio/Port Clinton) and sophomore Wade Wooley (Wauseon, Ohio/Wauseon) received tournament recognition. Hicks was named to the All-Tournament team and Wooley was the recipient of the Gerry Boomer Award for hustle in the tournament.
Hicks finished with 33 points, 15 rebounds, nine assists and three blocks in the tournament's two games. Wooley had his first career double-double for the Purlpe and Gold along with career highs in rebounds and points in Sunday's win. He finished with 14 points, 16 rebounds and two blocks in the two games.
Defiance trailed early in the contest to OWU, who beat No. 15 Marietta on Sunday to reach the championship game. However, the Yellow Jackets took control midway through the first half to climb back into the game on the combined efforts of Bernard Edwards (Detroit, Mich./Warren Cousino), Hicks, and Noah Reed (Huntington, Ind./Huntington North).
The trio, all of whom finished in double figures on the night, helped Defiance work down the deficit and take the lead toward the end of the first half.
However, the Battling Bishops went on an 11-4 run of their own over the final few minutes to take a 31-24 lead into the break.
Through the first couple of minutes in the second half, OWU expanded its lead to as much as 13 points before the trio of Edwards, Hicks and Reed chipped in again to help bring DC within two scores of the Bishops. Hicks finished with 15 points nine rebounds and five assists. He also had a block and a steal in the game.
Edwards led all DC scorers with 18 in the game and also grabbed eight rebounds. Reed finished with a career high 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field, including two three pointers.
Free throws were one of the big issues in the game for Defiance, shooting just .579 (11-19) on the night, after coming into the game with a free-throw percentage of .744 and shooting above .750 in each of the last four games.
Defiance also had trouble from behind the arch on the night. DC was just 3-of-14 (.214) after entering the game shooting .358 from three-point range.
Both teams were fairly balanced in most of the statistical categories. Defiance finished with six turnovers, but also had four steals and three blocks. Ohio Wesleyan had five turnovers in the game and finished with four steals and two blocks. Both teams had 17 fouls in the game.
The Yellow Jackets did outrebound OWU 36-32 on the boards. DC has led or tied in rebounding margin in all but one game this season.
Defiance will now turn its sights to conference play for the remainder of the 2013-14 regular season. The Yellow Jackets will travel to Hanover on Saturday, Jan. 4th for a 3 p.m. showdown with the Panthers (6-3, 2-1 HCAC). Hanover is tied for second behind Defiance in the HCAC Standings.