By: Andrew Korba
ADA — The Ohio Northern men's basketball team honored four seniors and posted a 73-64 win over Wilmington Wednesday night at the ONU Sports Center.
With the win the Polar Bears clinch the sixth seed in the OAC Tournament and move to 12-12 overall and 8-9 in OAC play while Wilmington falls to 12-11, 10-7.
Northern will host the seventh seed on Monday night.
Sophomore Branden Rushton led the Polar Bears with 18 points while sophomore Dominque Royal chipped in with 10.
Senior Scott Schnelle finished a rebound shy of a double-double posting 10 points and nine rebounds.
Junior Taylor Kuhlman had a solid all-around game finishing with eight points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals.
ONU started four seniors and got off to a solid 5-0 lead on five points from senior Tony Meyer.
"It has been a privilege to work with these seniors," said head coach John Rhodes. "They are a great group of guys that are good leaders, phenomenal teammates and fun to coach."
The first half would remain tight however as it featured four ties and seven lead changes. The score was tied at 33 at the break.
Wilmington would come out in the second half and open up a 43-38 lead with just under 15 minutes to play.
ONU would respond with an 8-0 run capped off tip-in by Rushton to take a 46-43 lead with just over 12 minutes to play.
The teams would be even for the next four minutes and the Polar Bears then went on a 7-0 to take a 58-49 lead with 6:06 left.
Rushton scored three points while Royal and Schnelle each added baskets to give Northern a nine point cushion.
The Quakers would chip away and cut the ONU lead to 62-58 with 2:39 left.
But the Polar Bears would close the game on a 11-4 run to walk away with the win.
"Tonight was a hard fought game against a tough team," Rhodes added. "We executed on both sides of the ball and played well off of each other. This will give us momentum heading into the weekend and the tournament."
Both teams shot the ball well from the field with the Polar Bears going 25-of-47 (53.2 percent) and Wilmington going 22-of-45 (48.9 percent).
ONU won the rebounding battle grabbing 29 compared to the Quakers 21.
The Polar Bears also got 36 points from their bench while Wilmington got just 13.
Antonio Bowman led the Quakers with 23 points while Malcolm Heard II added 15.
Ohio Northern will conclude their regular season on Saturday when they travel to Berea to face off against Baldwin-Wallace. Tip-off is scheduled for around 4 p.m.