ADA — After starting the season 5-0, the Ohio Northern men’s basketball team went into a shooting slump, and the Polar Bears went 1-7 the next eight games.
The Polar Bears broke out of that slump in a big way Wednesday night and the result was 93-78 victory over visiting Wilmington in Ohio Athletic Conference action on Joe and Margaret Campoli Court at King Horn Center.
ONU used two big first half runs, an early one of 9-0 and the other one midway through the half of 10-0, to grab a 53-44 lead going to the half-time break.
Lima Senior graduate Devon Allen led the charge for the Polar Bears by hitting 3-of-4 treys in the first half off the bench.
Overall, ONU (7-7, 2-5 OAC) was 8-of-12 behind the arc in the half with six different players connecting for three-pointers.
“Shooting has been the problem but we shot the ball well tonight,” Ohio Northern coach Kevin Byrne said. “It was a case of local boy (Allen) makes good; we were able to do enough to hold them at bay and got buckets when we needed them.”
The Quakers (5-8, 2-5 OAC) stayed in the game thanks to two ONU starters (senior Lucas Pennington and sophomore Konnor Baker from Ada) having four fouls and spending prolonged minutes of the second half on the bench. Plus Wilmington was almost flawless from the free throw line as it would finish the game hitting 26-of-29 from the charity stripe.
“I had to play some rotations we weren’t expecting to play due to the fact two of our better players were in foul trouble and on the bench,” Byrne said. ‘We got good minutes from them.”
Eleven players would go on to score for the Polar Bears in the contest. Allen led the way with a game 18 point total while Isaiah Roux was right behind with 17 points. Baker with 15 and Van Wert graduate Joey Hurless with 14 points gave ONU four players in double digits.
“I’ve been working hard in practice on my follow-through,” Allen said. “I saw a couple go in and that helped my confidence plus we passed the ball well tonight and found the open man.”
The Quakers got a game-high 25 point effort from Jonathan Bibbs while Christian Jones added 16 for Wilmington.
The Polar Bears ended the night connecting on 34-of-60 from the field for 57 percent. Wilmington ended the night hitting 45 percent from the floor on 23-of-51 shooting.
The rebounds were almost even with ONU grabbing a 31-29 edge, but the Polar Bears pulled down some key offensive rebounds in the second half to help hold the Quakers at bay.