By Tim Glon
TIFFIN — Senior Konnor Baker (Ada) scored a career-high 29 points and senior Devon Allen (Lima/Senior) made five free throws in the final 17 seconds of overtime to lead the Ohio Northern men's basketball team to an 84-78 victory at Heidelberg on Wednesday evening at Sieberling Gymnasium.
The Polar Bears improve to 9-7 overall and stay in first place in the Ohio Athletic Conference at the midway point of the double round-robin schedule with a 7-2 record.
The Student Princes fall to 6-10, 2-7.
Allen finished with 14 points and sophomore Ryan Bruns (Chickasaw/Marion Local) had 10 points and seven blocked shots for ONU.
Kiere Bennie led four HU players in double figures in scoring with 17 points.
Allen made a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left in overtime to give ONU an 81-78 lead and the Polar Bear defense forced a Student Prince turnover with 11.1 seconds to play.
After a technical foul on HU's head coach Andy Bucheit, Allen drilled a pair of free throws to make it 83-78 with 8.9 seconds left. He then made one free throw more after getting fouled with 5.2 seconds left to ice the game.
Bruns made a 3-point play to put ONU up 72-69 in the first minute of overtime.
Baker nailed a 3 to make it 77-72 and junior Nate Burger (Dayton/Alter) made a circus layup to put Northern up 79-75 with 1:33 to go.
"I was proud of the way we hung in there against their pressure," ONU head coach Rich Bensman said. "We did some things tonight defensively that we have not practiced much and we were effective. Heidelberg is a dangerous team and we are grateful to come away with a win."
Northern made eight of its first 11 shots and went on a 14-0 run to jump out to an 18-5 lead five minutes into the contest.
The lead grew to 24-7 with 11:10 left in the half as ONU finished a 20-2 run.
But the Student Princes battled back to take a 34-32 lead halftime on a 27-8 run of their own.
As hot as they were early, the Polar Bears went ice cold from the field during HU's run, making just 3-of 19 shots and turning the ball over seven times during that stretch.
Northern came out with a layup by Baker and a three by senior Joey Hurless (Van Wert) to regain a 37-34 lead just 46 seconds into the second half.
Another 3-pointer by Baker made it 40-34 with 1:25 gone in the half.
But again Heidelberg turned up its defensive pressure and went on a 16-4 run to go up 50-44 with 13:59 left in the game.
The Polar Bears switched to a 2-3 zone and went to a big lineup and switched the momentum back into their favor.
A 12-0 run, keyed by a pair of Baker threes, put the Polar Bears back on top 61-54 with 7:24 to go.
A 3-pointer by Allen gave ONU a 69-59 lead with 4:25 remaining.
Again the Student Princes came back, scoring the final 10 points of regulation to even the game.
HU's Prince Benson tipped in a missed three-pointer just ahead of the horn to tie the game at 69-all and send it into overtime.
Ohio Northern made 27-of-64 field goal attempts for 42.2 percent and was 11-of-23 from 3-point range for 47.8 percent. Heidelberg made 28-of-79 shots from the floor for 35.4 percent and was 9-of-30 from three for 30.0 percent.
HU out-rebounded ONU 56-39.
The Polar Bears will return to action on Saturday when they host Mount Union at 2 pm at the ONU sports Center.