By Tim Glon
ADA — The Ohio Northern men's basketball team ran its winning streak to five games and stayed in first place in the Ohio Athletic Conference with an 86-75 victory over Mount Union at the ONU Sports Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Polar Bears (10-7, 8-2) had five players score in double figures, led by senior Devon Allen (Lima/Senior) with a game-high 23 points.
Junior Nate Burger (Dayton/Alter) scored 14 points, sophomore Ryan Bruns (Chickasaw/Marion Local) scored 12 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds and senior Konnor Baker (Ada) and junior Joey DiOrio (Columbus/Watterson) chipped in 11 points each for ONU.
The Purple Raiders (11-6, 6-4) were led by J.J. Kukura and DeAllen Jackson with 20 points each.
Mount Union went on a 22-5 run over an eight minute span of the first half to turn an 18-11 Polar Bear lead into a 33-23 lead with 2:18 left in the first half.
Northern responded and got within 35-32 by halftime.
ONU took the lead for good at 43-42 on a basket by Baker with 14:39 left in the game.
A 10-0 Polar Bear run appeared to put the hosts in control of the game, up 65-51 with 7:512 to play.
But the Purple Raiders rallied with a 10-0 run of their own and get back within 65-61 with 5:09 to go.
Leading 70-67, Bruns scored inside, DiOrio nailed a three and Allen canned a 3-pointer to put ONU back in the driver's seat up 78-69 with 2:30 to go.
Northern would then make 8-of-10 free throws in the final 57 seconds to ice the game.
"I am proud of how resilient we were," ONU head coach Rich Bensman said. "Mount Union is a very physical team and we did not match that physicality early on. But we hung in there, played more physical and knocked down some shots in the second half."
Ohio Northern made 30-of-58 field goal attempts for 51.7 percent, including a 64.3 percent clip in the second half, while Mount Union made just 26-of-66 shots from the floor for 39.4 percent.
ONU out-rebounded MtU 40-35.
The Polar Bears will return to action Wednesday night when they host Wilmington in a 7 pm game.