NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Ohio Northern University used a huge second half to erase a double-digit deficit and snap the Keene State College men's basketball team's seven game winning streak, 88-75 on Saturday afternoon in the Music City Classic at Volunteer State Community College.
- Keene State: 8-3
- Ohio Northern: 8-3
How It Happened
Dizel Wright and Ty Nichols each scored 18 points to lead Keene State. Wright added five rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks, while Nichols added eight rebounds. Miguel Prieto had 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while James Anozie came off the bench to add 12 points and four rebounds.
Ohio Northern's leading scorers Nate Burger and Ryan Bruns led the Polar Bears, who are located in Ada, Ohio and play in the Ohio Athletic Conference. Burger poured in 32 points, 24 of which came in the second half, and added seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. Bruns added 19 points, eight rebounds and six blocks. Joey DiOrio had 13 points, nine rebounds, one assist and one steal, while Max Hartnett had 11 points and four rebounds off the bench.
The game was a high-scoring affair early. Three free throws from Prieto and a layup from Nichols provided Keene State a 13-7 advantage at the 16:35 mark of the first half. Ohio Northern scored nine of the next 13 points to trail just 17-16, but the Owls got a jumper and free throw from Prieto to go up 24-18 with 11:03 to go in the half. A three from DiOrio got the Polar Bears back within 28-25, but the Owls went on a 12-6 burst over the next five minutes to lead 40-31 at the 5:05 mark. KSC continued to extend the lead from there, getting a free throw from Nichols and a layup from Sidi Diallo to take a 49-35 advantage, their largest, with 1:50 left in the half. KSC led 51-39 at the break after Anozie's layup at the buzzer.
Ohio Northern came storming out of the gates to start the second half, scoring the first nine points to trim the deficit to just one possession (51-48). During the surge, Burger scored seven of the nine points and Bruns had the other basket. A three from Prieto stopped the surge and, later after the Polar Bears trimmed the deficit to just 54-52, the Owls got a traditional three point play from Anozie and a bucket inside from Nichols to go back up 59-52. But ONU surged again, scoring 10 of the next 11 points to take their first lead of the game (62-60) on a three from DiOrio with 9:47 to go. He hit another three to make it 66-62, but the Owls trimmed the deficit to 68-67 after five points in quick succession from Wright. A free throw from Nichols with 5:08 to go trimmed KSC's deficit to 72-70, but it was all Polar Bears from there, as they went on a 13-1 burst to put the game away. Burger made a jumper and a three on successive possessions to give Ohio Northern a double-digit lead and, later, buckets inside from Travis Feitshans and Austin Allemeier made it 85-71 with 1:25 to go. The Owls did not get the lead below double-digits from there and were outscored 49-24 in the second half overall.
Inside the Paint
- Keene State shot 44% for the game (25-for-57), but just 7-for-19 in the second half (37%). The Owls struggled from three and the free throw line, going 2-for-10 from behind the arc and 23-for-37 (62%) from the charity stripe. In two games in Nashville, KSC made just 37-of-66 free throws (56%).
- After shooting 46% in the first half, ONU shot 55% after the break to settle on 50% for the game (33-of-66). The Polar Bears made 7-of-21 from deep (33%) and 15-of-26 from the line (58%).
- Both teams grabbed 37 rebounds overall, but after KSC outrebounded ONU 21-14 in the first half, the Polar Bears dominated the glass 22-9 in the second half, including 11 on the offensive glass. In the decisive half, Ohio Northern grabbed more offensive rebounds than Keene State had total rebounds. The Polar Bears were able to limit Keene State to just 19 field goal attempts after the break, while they had 33 themselves.
- It was a low turnover game overall, as Keene State committed 12 and Ohio Northern eight, but the Owls had nine alone in the second half.
- It was the second consecutive day the Owls played a first-time opponent, having defeated LaGrange (Ga.) 84-80 last night.
- Keene State will travel to Trinity (Conn.) to open the New Year. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00 pm on Wednesday, January 3.
- Ohio Northern will host Otterbein on the same night at 7:00 pm.