ADA, Ohio – Ohio Northern University erased a six-point deficit in the final minute, hit a game-tying triple at the buzzer and defeated the Wilmington College men’s basketball team 72-68 in overtime in an Ohio Athletic Conference contest at the ONU Sports Center Wednesday evening.
Through the first 14 minutes and change, the game was about as tight as it could get with neither team gaining an advantage of greater than four points. The first time either team’s lead increased to six or more came on a Jeffery Mansfield layup with 5:22 left in the first half. Instead of giving the Fightin’ Quakers a decisive advantage, the Polar Bears responded with a decisive 16-1 run to end the half with a 34-25 lead.
The Quakers responded with a 16-5 run themselves giving them a 40-39 lead at the 14:26 mark in the second half after a jump shot made by Mansfield. The next nine minutes were back and forth with both teams trading leads before Wilmington expanded the advantage to 57-49 after a Noah Dado basket. It appeared Wilmington was about to walk away with its first conference and road win of the season, but ONU rallied late.
After Obed Achirem made a pair of free throws with 42 seconds left to play, Ohio Northern’s Brandan Waugh hit a huge three pointer, 61-58 WC, then made three free throws with 14 seconds left in regulation.
After a Wilmington timeout, Mansfield was fouled with 13 seconds in the double bonus where he missed both free throws before Noah Dado bailed him out to get the offensive rebound before getting fouled with 10 seconds left in regulation play. Dado also misfired on two free throws ,and Waugh snatched the rebound for the Polar Bears before slipping on the court and calling a timeout with six seconds in play, a timeout Ohio Northern did not have resulting in a technical foul.
After the Fightin’ Quakers missed four straight free throws, head coach K.C. Hunt sent senior Anthony Freeman to the foul line where he hit two consecutive free throws to push the lead to 64-61. Again Waugh responded by hitting a miraculous three pointer at the buzzer to send the game in overtime deadlocked at 64.
After the three-point heave at the buzzer in regulation, the Quakers would never see the lead again. Ohio Northern’s CJ Napier put the nail in the coffin for Wilmington, after he made a layup to put the Polar Bears up 72-68 with 10 seconds left in overtime as Wilmington would throw the ball away on its final possession.
With both teams playing close throughout the game with neither team having a lead of double digits or more, the teams’ stat lines were nearly identical from the field with Wilmington shooting 43.3 percent from the field and 20 percent from behind the arc and the Polar Bears shooting 44.8 percent in field goals and 28.6 percent from three respectively. Both teams struggled from the line, Wilmington shooting 14-27 (51.9 percent) and Ohio Northern shooting 16-29 (55.2 percent).
Mansfield responded from a disappointing 3-15 day shooting from the field against Wittenberg in his last road outing to lead Wilmington with 24 points and 11 rebounds on an efficient 9-15 from the field. Achirem had yet another double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Anthony Freeman added nine points off the bench for the Fightin’ Quakers.
C.J Napier lead all scorers with 25 points on 10-13 shooting in 41 minutes and led Ohio Northern with 12 rebounds. After nine huge points in regulation, Brandon Waugh finished with 14 points. Michael Berner would be the final Polar Bear with double figures scoring contributing 12.