DEFIANCE, Ohio – Defiance College held Mount St. Joseph to just 26 second-half points and pulled away for the 71-62 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference victory on Wednesday night. The win moves the Jackets to 4-2 in league play and into a three-way tie for second.
DC locked down defensively after the break and used a pair of extended rallies to take control of the action. The Lions had no answer and shot just 31.6 percent from the floor in the second stanza, while connecting on only one-of-11 three-point attempts.
The offensive woes for MSJ opened the door for Defiance and the Jackets used a 12-2 spurt to turn a 40-36 deficit into a 48-42 advantage with 13:39 left in the game. Nick Sales and Eric Stolly ignited the stretch with three points each, before Anthony Pettaway scored six unanswered to put DC in front to stay. Mike Floyd also played a major role in the run, assisting all four of Defiance's buckets.
The lead would never leave DC's corner but the Mount did manage to get back to within a single point at 51-50 with 11:29 showing on the clock. The Jackets then put the game away by scoring the next nine points to push the spread into double figures with just over six minutes to play.
The Lions could not counter, as they mustered only 12 points in the game's final 11:29 of action and were held to their worst shooting performance of the season. One of the keys to MSJ's struggles was the defense of Eric Stolly against the HCAC's leading scorer. Michael Romes was held in check all night long by Stolly and settled for 14 points, after failing to approach his average of 19.9 points a night in league play.
Along with his stellar performance on the defensive side of the ball, Stolly also played a large role in the offense by connecting on all three of his attempts from beyond the arc and finishing with nine points and nine rebounds in 31 minutes.
Stolly was not alone in his efforts, as Pettaway filled the stat sheet yet again with a game-high 17 points to go along with eight boards, three assists and a trio of blocks, while Sales turned in 16 points, nine rebounds and four blocks. Floyd also did a little bit of everything on the night and flirted with a triple-double, before ending with nine points, nine assists and 11 rebounds.
Defiance climbs to 9-6 overall with its third-straight home victory over the Mount and will now turn its attention to the HCAC-leading Franklin squad. The Grizzlies (8-7, 5-1 HCAC) will invade the Karl H. Weaner Community Center on Saturday, Jan. 17 at 4:00 pm in the second game of a double-dip featuring the Lady Jackets and Franklin in a 2:00 pm tip.