Royal, Rushton combine for 33 as Men's Basketball goes on the road to area-rival Defiance
DEFIANCE — Sophomores Dominique Royal and Brandon Rushton combined for 33 points to lead Ohio Northern in an 83-80 loss at Defiance Tuesday night in a non-conference men's basketball game at the Weaner Center.
The Polar Bears fall to 2-1, while the Yellow Jackets improve to 2-2.
Royal finished with 17 points and Rushton had 16 to lead four ONU players in double figures in scoring.
Senior Scott Schnelle added 14 points and freshman Reco Spears had a career-high 13 points.
DC got a game-high 25 points from Anthony Brown, 15 points from Mason Roth and 13 points from Logan Wolfrum.
Northern rallied from a 13-point first half deficit and led 80-79 with 1:29 left in the game after a layup by Schnelle.
Wolfrum answered with a basket at the 1:01 mark to put DC up 81-80.
ONU had two chances to regain the lead in the final minute, but a turnover and a blocked shot thwarted both opportunities.
Roth put the game away with a pair of free throws with 2.1 seconds left.
"My hat's off to Defiance," ONU head coach John Rhodes said. "They made plays down the stretch and we had opportunities, but not make plays. We need to do a better job on the defensive end. You can't give up 83 points and expect to win too many games. I am proud of the way we battled back and put ourselves into a position to win the game.
"This is a great rivalry. Games like this make both teams better prepared for league play. The crowd was great and it was a tremendous atmosphere."
The Yellow Jackets shot a blistering 59.6 percent from the floor (31 of 52) and led by as many as 13 points on four occasions, the last of which was 40-27 with 2:23 left before intermission.
ONU finished the day 27 of 59 from the floor for 45.5 percent.
Northern led 9-4 three minutes in after a 3-pointer from senior Tony Meyer, but DC would rally to tie the game at 11.
The hosts would use an 8-0 run later in the half to turn a 22-19 advantage into a 30-19 lead with 7:24 left before intermission.
Northern scored the first four points of the second half to cap a 6-0 run, then used an 11-3 run to tie the game at 50-all.
Rushton nailed a 3-pointer and Isiah Roux followed with a steal and basket just three seconds later to spark the run.
A basket by freshman Lucas Pennington tied the game at 52-52 and a putback basket by freshman Reco Spears gave ONU a 54-52 lead with 12:40 to play.
DC extended its lead to 69-62 on a 3-pointer from Drew Frizell, but a Spears 3-pointer would tie the game at 78-78 with 2:09 left to play.
Schnelle grabbed a game-high eight rebounds as ONU won the battle of the boards 34-25.
Each team committed 13 turnovers.
The Polar Bears will return to action Sunday with a non-conference matchup at Hanover (Ind.)