Balanced attack leads Men's Basketball to 78-73 victory over No. 19-ranked Marietta

Balanced attack leads Men's Basketball to 78-73 victory over No. 19-ranked Marietta

By Tim Glon

ADA — A balanced offensive attack lifted the Ohio Northern men's basketball team to a 78-73 victory over No. 19-ranked Marietta on Wednesday night at the ONU Sports Center.

The Polar Bears improve to 7-5 overall and are 3-2 in Ohio Athletic Conference play, while the league-leading Pioneers fall to 9-3, 4-1.

Ten different ONU players scored and six players made 3-pointers in the contest.

"I'm really happy for our players," ONU head coach Kevin Byrne said. "It was truly a total team effort. All 11 guys that played did things to contribute to the win. We shot the ball well and played hard and with confidence. It was a big win that keeps us in the league race."

Junior Lucas Pennington scored a team-high 17 points to lead four Ohio Northern players in double figures in scoring.

Junior Isaiah Roux had an impressive night, scoring a season-high 15 points, tying a career-high with seven assists and grabbing a team-high five rebounds.

Senior Jared Horstman added 12 points and senior Branden Rushton chipped in 11 points for ONU.

Marietta was led by Luis Garcia with 18 points, Keith Richardson with 17 points, Brennan McKean with 13 points and Garrett Stephenson with 11 points.

Northern made 29-of-58 field goal attempts for 50 percent and were a blistering 11-of-20 from 3-point range for 55 percent, while Marietta made just 19-of-49 field goals for 38.8 percent and were just 8-of-27 from beyond the arc for 29.6 percent.

But the Pioneers stayed in the game by converting 27-of-31 free throw attempts for 87.1 percent, including an 18-for-20 effort in the second half.

Many of those second half free throws helped offset a field goal drought of 8:37 in the last nine minutes of the game for MC.

With ONU leading 62-57 with 8:48 left in to play, the Pioneers would miss their next eight field goal attempts, but would go 10-for-10 from the charity stripe to stay within 72-67 with 2:30 left to play.

Richardson would miss a free throw at the 1:57 mark, but would make his second of two attempts to pull the visitors within 72-68.

Horstman would answer with a pair of free throws at the 1:33 mark to make it a 74-68 game.

After each team went scoreless on their ensuing possessions, senior Dominique Royal made one of two free throws with 27 seconds left to give ONU a 75-68 advantage.

Rushton would ice the game with two more free throws with 16 seconds left to make it 77-68.

Richardson would end Marietta's field goal drought with a 3-pointer with 11 second to play.

Northern finished the game 9-of-18 from the foul line for 50 percent.

Marietta won the rebounding battle 33-31, but the Pioneers would commit 15 turnovers that would lead to 24 ONU points.

The Polar Bears will return to action on Saturday against the league's other 4-0 squad, Mount Union, at 3 pm at the ONU Sports Center.