Men's Basketball's OAC Tournament run ends in Semifinals with tight 66-61 loss at Capital
By: Tim Glon
COLUMBUS -- Ohio Northern's Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament run came to an end with a hard-fought 66-61 loss at Capital in the semifinals Thursday night at the Capital Center.
The second-seeded Crusaders (17-9) advance to the Finals Saturday night at home against fourth-seeded Wilmington, while the Polar Bears end their season with a 14-14 mark.
Sophomore Dominique Royal scored 14 points, sophomore Jared Horstman added 13 points and junior Taylor Kuhlman scored 12 points to lead Ohio Northern.
Northern reached the semifinals with a 56-52 win over Mount Union on Monday and a 58-54 win at Marietta on Tuesday.
Spencer Neikamp had a game-high 22 points for Capital and Kelly Winter scored 19 for Capital.
Winter scored seven big points in the game's final 2:33 and was the difference down the stretch.
One of the biggest plays in the game came with Northern trailing 57-55 and in possession of the ball with just under three minutes to play.
Sophomore Branden Rushton had a good look at a three, but the rebound was batted back near midcourt, where Winter took it the length of the floor for a 3-point play and CU led 60-55 with 2:33 to go.
Rushton later nailed a three with 48.7 seconds left to pull ONU within 62-61.
But Winter made two free throws with 15.6 seconds to play to make it 64-61, then stole the ball on ONU's ensuing possession and made two more free throws with 3.2 seconds left to ice the game.
Neither team led by more than five points for the first 29 minutes of the game until a 13-2 Capital run gave the hosts a 45-36 advantage with 10:32 left in the game.
But a pair of free throws by Rushton and a 3-pointer by Kuhlman pulled ONU within 45-41 with 9:40 to go.
A layup by Royal and a pair of free throws by Scott Schnelle brought ONU within 54-53 with 5:19 remaining.
Horstman scored 10 of his points in the tight first half, as ONU held a 25-24 lead at intermission.
Ohio Northern made 17 of 41 field goals for 41.5 percent, while Capital was good on 23 of 53 field goals for 43.4 percent.
ONU was a blistering 9 of 17 from three-point range, but Capital won the rebounding battle by a 35-28 margin.