Ohio Northern opens men’s basketball season with win


WILMINGTON — Sophomore C.J. Napier had his second career double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Ohio Northern men’s basketball team to a 95-86 season-opening victory at Wilmington on Friday night at Raizk Arena.

The Polar Bears (1-0 overall, 1-0 Ohio Athletic Conference) had four other players score in double figures.

Junior Brandon Waugh scored 23 points, grabbed seven rebounds and tied a career-high with six assists, sophomore Michael Berner (Springboro) had a career-high 17 points, sophomore Landen Long had 17 points and sophomore Adam Scott (Wapakoneta) had a career-high 10 points for ONU.

Jeffery Mansfield had 21 points and eight assists to lead the Quakers (0-1, 0-1).

Waugh made a pair of free throws and Berner got a layup as ONU broke a 43-all tie and took the lead for good at 47-43 with 3:03 left in the first half.

Northern opened the second half on an 11-4 run to go up 65-53 with 16:16 remaining to play.

The Quakers got within 88-84 with 1:56 left in the game, but two free throws by Long at the 1:14 mark extended the lead to 90-84.

Scott had a dunk with 34 seconds to go to make it 92-84 and ONU would make three of four free throws to ice the game and win its third consecutive season opener.

Ohio Northern made 32-of-58 field goals for 55.2 percent, was 27-of-41 from the foul line for 65.9 percent and made 4-of-12 3-pointers for 33.3 percent.

Wilmington made 30-of-67 field foals for 44.8 percent, was 8-of-28 from beyond the arc for 28.6 percent and made 18-of-27 free throws for 66.7 percent.

Each team had 34 rebounds, but ONU enjoyed a 52-38 advantage in the paint.

The Polar Bears and Quakers will battle again on Saturday night at 6 pm at the ONU Sports Center in the second game of the back-to-back home-and-home schedule the OAC has adopted for the 2021 season.

Women’s basketball

Wilmington 61, ONU 59

ADA — The Ohio Northern women’s basketball team went ice-cold in the third quarter and had a 4:20 scoring drought in the fourth quarter, yet still had a chance to win late in a 61-59 season-opening loss to Wilmington at the ONU Sports Center.

“I’m so proud of the way we kept fighting all night,” first-year ONU head coach Mark Huelsman said after his first game at the helm of the Polar Bears. “We have not played a basketball game in more than 300 days. We looked good at times and rusty at other times, but we kept battling and playing hard and had a chance at the end.”

Junior Kate Iliff led a balanced attack for ONU (0-1 overall, 0-1 Ohio Athletic Conference) attack with 10 points. Junior Molly Palecek and freshman Kristen Luersman (Fort Jennings) had nine points each and junior Lexi Jacobs (Wapakoneta) added eight points for ONU.

The Quakers (1-0, 1-0) had three players score in double figures led by McKayla Binkley with 17 points.

Jacobs nailed a 3-pointer with 44.1 seconds left in the game to end the long scoring drought and get Ohio Northern within 61-59.

ONU got a stop and had the ball with 30 seconds left with a chance to win.

Jacobs had a clean look at a 3-pointer with four second left bounce off the rim and WC held on for the win.

Northern led 32-26 at halftime, but made just 3-of-19 field goals in the third quarter as Wilmington outscored the hosts 16-7 to lead 44-41 heading into the fourth period.

ONU finished the game 21-of-59 from the floor for 35.6 percent and was 9-of-28 from 3-point range for 32.1 percent, while WC was 24-of-61 from the floor (39.3 percent) and 6-of-19 from beyond the arc (31.6 percent.)

Ohio Northern out-rebounded Wilmington 42-36, led by seven boards from Ward and junior Jaidyn Hale (Bath).

The Polar Bears and Quakers will battle again on Saturday night at 6 pm at Wilmington in the second game of the back-to-back home-and-home schedule the OAC has adopted for the 2021 season.

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