By Caleb Scott
UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS — Seniors Nate Burger (Dayton/Alter) and Joey DiOrio (Columbus/Watterson) each had career-days for the Ohio Northern men's basketball team as it dropped a 101-95 decision to John Carroll in a high-scoring affair at the Tony DeCarlo Varsity Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Polar Bears fall to 5-3 overall and 3-1 in the Ohio Athletic Conference, while the Blue Streaks improve to 7-1, 3-1.
Burger poured in a career-high 34 points to lead all scorers, while DiOrio scored a career-best 25 points for ONU.
Burger added a game-best eight assists for ONU, while DiOrio grabbed eight rebounds.
Junior Ryan Bruns (Chickasaw/Marion Local) posted his second double-double in the last three games with 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, while freshman Brandon Waugh (Columbus/Northland) chipped in 13 points.
After falling behind 21-14 in the first half, the Polar Bears would hit five straight 3-pointers to take their first lead of the evening at 29-28 with 8:45 remaining in the first half.
Northern would use the final of the five straight 3-pointers to spark an 8-0 run capped by a free throw from DiOrio to take a 34-28 lead with 7:01 left in the first half.
JCU would cut the Polar Bear lead to 47-43 before Burger drilled a three pointer and added a layup to push the ONU lead to 52-43 at the intermission.
Burger would come out firing in the second half, hitting back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers to give ONU its largest lead of the afternoon at 61-45 with 18:50 left to play.
The Blue Streaks would not fade away as they slowly chipped away at the the ONU lead and took their first lead of the second half following a 3-pointer to give JCU an 81-79 lead with 5:58 left to play.
A pair of free throws stretched the John Carroll lead to 88-82 and forced an ONU timeout with 4:33 remaining in the contest.
ONU would respond with a 9-0 run capped off by a 3-pointer from Burger to retake the lead at 91-88 with 2:31 left in the contest,
With the game tied at 93-all, JCU woukd use a quick 5-0 spurt to open a 98-93 lead.
Burger would hit a pair of free throws but the Polar Bears would fall 101-95.
Northern was 32-of-70 (45.7 percent) from the field, including 15-of-34 (44.1 percent) from the 3-point line, while the Blue Streaks were 32-of-64 (50.0 percent) from the field, including 13-of-33 (39.4 percent) from the 3-point line.
ONU will return to action on Dec. 29 as it travels to Nashville, Tenn. to compete in the Music City Classic and takes on Lynchburg (Va.) at 12 pm.