WC men unable to hold 10-point lead, fall by 1

ADA — Ohio Northern University erased a 10-point deficit in the final eight minutes and hit a game-winning basket in the final minute to slip by the Wilmington College men’s basketball team 62-61 in Ohio Athletic Conference action on Saturday evening.

The Fightin’ Quakers jumped out to an 11-2 lead in the first three minutes thanks to three-pointers from Jalen Horton, Jeffery Mansfield and Matt Smith. The Polar Bears seemed to settle down defensively after that, holding Wilmington to just a Bilal Sow basket over the next six minutes. Consecutive baskets from Jayden Lewis and Mansfield broke a 13-13 tie midway through the half.

Neither squad led by more than a possession for seven minutes until a Hunter Rucker three with three minutes to play put Wilmington ahead 31-25. ONU would answer with the final two baskets, however, to make the score 31-29 at halftime.

The second half began similarly to the first as the Quakers scored the first seven points of the session – four from Mansfield and three from Horton – to stretch the lead to nine. Wilmington led by as many as 10, but ONU kept within striking distance and got within a possession (52-50) on two free throws at the 5:35 mark. The teams traded punches until C.J. Napier scored consecutive baskets to put the hosts on top 62-61 with 39 seconds left.

A Wilmington turnover forced the Quakers to foul, but Napier missed the front end of a one-and-one with seven seconds to play. The Polar Bears, who were called for just a single foul in the first 19:50 of the half, had plenty of fouls to give. After two fouls on purpose, Mansfield drove into the lane in the final seconds, but couldn’t deliver the game-winner.

Despite that, Mansfield led all scorers with 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting to go along with six rebounds and six assists. Sow added nine points and six boards off the bench while Jackson Todd grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.

Napier and Waugh once again led ONU in scoring with 16 and 12 points respectively.

Wilmington (0-2) returns to action next weekend against Muskingum University.