ADA — Ohio Northern’s Devon Allen has different role. He now comes off the bench and looks to provide the Polar Bears with a spark.
Allen, a sophomore from Lima Senior, delivered with plenty of instant offense Saturday.
Allen scored 13 of his 15 points off the bench in the first half to lift ONU to an 80-69 men’s basketball victory over Muskingum at the King Horn Center.
In a four-minute burst, Allen knocked down three 3-pointers and two 17-footers. Those 13 points helped ONU go on a 19-8 run to pull out to a 29-18 lead.
“When I was starting (the first 14) games I was kind of in there for defensive purposes and moving the ball, but as I come off the bench I’m more in there for scoring and I have to provide a quick lift for us,” Allen said. “I have a different mindset of having to get my shot going and look for my shot.”
ONU, which broke its three-game losing streak, is 11-12, 6-10 in the Ohio Athletic Conference. Muskingum is 6-17, 3-13 in the OAC.
The game was delayed for an hour as Muskingum made its way slowly up from Columbus in white-out conditions.
But once it started, the Polar Bears got a spark from Allen and 6-foot-4 freshman Travis Feitshans (Franklin Monroe), who finished with 12 points and seven rebounds. Konnor Baker (Ada) added 11 points and six boards. Senior guard Isaiah Roux scored 12 points. Aron Thress had 10 points and seven rebounds.
“When we haven’t played well a lot of it is because we haven’t shot the ball real well,” ONU coach Kevin Byrne said. “But the last couple of nights, he (Allen) has those stretches when he really gets it cranked up. It makes the game a lot easier when you have someone out there knocking down some shots and gets it going with the best of them. And the separation really came during that stretch when he was making those shots.”
ONU led by 13, 25-22, and took a 47-36 lead into halftime.
The closest Muskingum would get in the second half was eight, 73-65, with 3:58 to go. ONU ripped off a 6-0 streak to make it 79-65, including a reverse basket by Roux.
In fact, on senior night, Roux’s parents drove up from Orlando, Fla., to watch their son play for the first time.
“They can watch it online, but it was pretty special playing in front of them today,” Roux said. “It’s been since high school since they last saw me play. … It was pretty special for me, for my parents and for us to get that senior night win.”
Defensively, ONU played most of the second half in a 3-2 zone.
“It wasn’t in my plan to play as much zone as we have, but it seems like nobody plays zone right now,” Byrne said. “It seems like in a lot of these games, it (the zone) is going really well, so there’s no real reason to come out of it. … It seems when we play it, we get people to take more of those difficult, semi-guarded, 17-footers, which are tough shots. It’s been pretty good to us, really.”
Overall, it was a good day for the Polar Bears, including winning the boards, 43-26.
“I thought we were able to come out and take control of the game and maintain control of the game,” Byrne said.