College basketball: Pioneers fall to ONU

ADA – Ohio Northern University led from start to finish as the Polar Bears defeated No. 19-ranked Marietta College 78-73 Wednesday (Jan. 8) evening in Ohio Athletic Conference men’s basketball action. The loss dropped the Pioneers to 9-3 overall and 4-1 in the OAC. ONU improved to 7-5 on the season and 3-2 in the OAC.

The Polar Bears hit two of their 11 three-pointers to start the game and led 6-0 just over a minute into the game. The Pioneers managed to tie the game twice in the first half but couldn’t overcome ONU’s long range shooting and trailed by ten at the half, 45-35.

Despite increasing its lead to 13 points on two occasions early in the second half, Ohio Northern couldn’t shake the Pioneers. Marietta got the deficit under 10 and kept it there for the duration. A pair of free throws from Garrett Stephenson with 5:27 remaining cut it to three, 66-63.

Marietta was forced to foul down the stretch and the Polar Bears made 6-of-8 free throws to seal the win.

Sophomore Luis Garcia made his first start of the season and scored a game-high 18 points. Freshman point guard Keith Richardson finished with 17 points, while juniors Brennan McKean and Stephenson added 13 and 11 points, respectively.

The Pioneers outrebounded ONU 33-31 as junior Andy Stegman grabbed a game-high six boards. Stephenson and McKean each had five rebounds.

Lucas Pennington led four Polar Bears in double figures with 17 points. Isaiah Roux scored 15 points and pulled down a team-best five rebounds.

Jared Horstman chipped in with 12 points and Branden Rushton had 11.

For the game, Marietta shot 38.8% (19-of-49) from the floor, 29.6% (8-of-27) from three-point range and 87.1% (27-of-31) at the line. Ohio Northern was 29-of-58 (50.0%) from the floor, 11-of-20 (55.0%) behind the arc and 9-of-18 (50.0%) at the line.

Marietta returns home to host Baldwin Wallace University Saturday (Jan. 11) at 3 p.m.