Spears' free throws with three seconds left Leads Men’s Basketball to 59-57 victory over No. 9 Marietta
MARIETTA — Freshman Reco Spears sunk two free throws with three seconds left to help the Ohio Northern men's basketball team upset No. 9 Marietta on Saturday afternoon at Ban Johnson Arena.
Ohio Northern is now 6-2 overall and 3-1 in OAC play while the Pioneers fall to 6-3 and 2-2 in conference.
Spears also led the Polar Bears in scoring with 12 points, coupled with his five rebounds.
Freshman Adam Bair added 11 points while senior Scott Schnelle finished with 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Both teams struggled to score in the opening minutes of the game as the Pioneers built a 6-0 lead with just under 15 minutes left in the first half.
Northern would counter with a 9-1 run to take a 9-7 lead with 12:59 remaining in the first half. The Polar Bears would hold its lead for the rest of the half, taking a 28-25 lead into the break.
Into the second half, ONU would take its largest lead of the game at 32-27 when sophomore Jared Horstman took a Schnelle pass and scored at the 17:55 mark.
Marietta would then counter with a 16-0 run to take a 43-32 lead but Northern would chip away at the lead and cut it to 46-40 on a jumper by Schnelle.
The Polar Bears then used a quick 6-1 run to cut their deficit to 47-46 with 6:16 remaining.
Bair, Spears and Schnelle all scored during the run.
Marietta would push their lead out to four points twice in the next two minutes before sophomore Taylor Kuhlman drained a 3-pointer put the Polar Bears down 52-51 with exactly four minutes to play.
The teams would trade baskets on their next possessions.
After the Pioneers hit 1-of-2 free throws, Horstman sunk two shots from the charity stripe to tie the game at 55 with 2:24 left.
Marietta would take the lead back with 1:54 remaining on two free throws.
Spears would then draw a foul with 1:24 left and sink both of his free throws to tie the game at 57.
Northern's defense held strong down the stretch making stops on the Pioneers final three possessions.
Spears made his two free throws with three seconds left and Tyler Hammond's 3-pointer was no good as time expired.
The Polar Bears were 22-of-56 (39 percent) from the field and a solid 12-of-15 (80 percent) from the line while Marietta was 18-of-52 (35 percent) in field goals and 16-of-27 (59 percent) from the foul line.
Northern held a slight advantage in rebounding grabbing 40 the Pioneers' 39.
Kevin Knab posted a double-double to lead Marietta with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Ohio Northern will be in action again on Tuesday when they return home to face off against Wittenberg at 7:30 p.m.