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Cougars add two league wins

The MVNU men’s basketball team (16-5) added two more league victories and one conference loss since the semester began, beating Goshen College and Marian University and falling against No. 9 Bethel College.

Senior Josh Ashwill led the Cougars in an 83-69 victory over Goshen College last Tuesday. Ashwill finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Sophomore Brett Vipperman added 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Cougars.

“Goshen is so well coached and tough to play at home,” Head Coach Jared Ronai said after the victory. Coach was happy with the Cougars’ effort and focus in their fourth Crossroads League victory of the season.

Three other players tallied double digits. Freshman Trey McBride added 15 points and senior Deontae Cole and freshman Jacob Paul added 13 points each.

The Cougars followed their victory with an 82-70 loss against Bethel College last Saturday. McBride scored a career high of 24 points and added 10 steals, breaking the previous MVNU single game steal record of eight, set by Brandon Short in 2011.

“We played extremely hard and didn’t panic when we were down 17-4,” McBride said after the loss. Ronai called a timeout, allowing the Cougars to regroup and tie the game at 31-31.

McBride was happy with the effort given by MVNU.

“We had a focused attitude going into the game that needs to be consistent throughout the rest of the year,” McBride said.

Ashwill recorded 15 points and 11 rebounds.

“Bethel is playing at a very high level and played very well today,” Ronai said following the game. The Cougars look to improve at “finishing around the basket area.”

MVNU bounced back with a 78-69 road win at Marian on Tuesday.

“Marian is a difficult team to defend, with one of the best scorers in the country [in Wesley Stowers],” said Ronai.

Stowers finished the night with 22 points and six rebounds against the Cougars.

Vipperman led the Cougars offensively with 22 points, nine rebounds and four assists. McBride followed up his career game at Bethel with 20 points and six rebounds.

The Cougars, down 12 during the first half, tied the game at 29-29 with 4:48 left in the first half.

“We came out sluggish but really locked in for the final 30 minutes,” Ronai said.

Ashwill added 12 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists against Marian and was “incredibly proud of his teammates” after the road win.

“We got off to a slow start but we really locked in defensively at the end of the first half and the rest of the game,” Ashwill said.

He was also proud of how the Cougars limited turnovers.

“We took care of the basketball much better than we have been lately,” Ashwill said, calling the Cougars’ nine turnovers an “important key to the victory.”

The Cougars next game is Saturday at Huntington. They will tip off at 3 p.m. following the women’s game.

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