Men's Basketball rallies for 88-75 victory over Keene State (N.H.) in Music City Classic finale

Men's Basketball rallies for 88-75 victory over Keene State (N.H.) in Music City Classic finale

By Tim Glon

GALLATIN, Tenn. — Ohio Northern roared back from a 14-point first half deficit to post an impressive 88-75 men's basketball victory over Keene State (N.H.) at the Music City Classic on Saturday afternoon at Volunteer State (Tenn.) Community College's Pickel Field House.

The Polar Bears (8-3 overall) were led by and senior Nate Burger (Dayton/Alter) with 32 points and seven rebounds.

Northern also got 19 points, seven rebounds and six blocked shots from junior Ryan Bruns (Chickasaw/Marion Local) and 13 points and a team-high nine rebounds from senior Joey DiOrio (Columbus/Watterson).

Senior Max Harnett (Kettering/Alter) scored a career-high 11 points, nine of which came in the first half.The Owls (8-3) were led by Dizel Wright with 18 points.

The Owls (8-3) got 18 points each from Dizel Wright and Ty Nichols.

Keene State dominated the game early and used an 9-2 run to take a 49-35 lead with 1:50 left in the first half. The Owls out-rebounded the Polar Bears 25-15 in the first half, including 10 offensive rebounds, and were 14-of-16 from the foul line to build a 51-39 lead at intermission.

The second half was all Ohio Northern.

Northern started the second half on a 9-0 run in the first 1:48 to pull within 51-48.

ONU then went on a 10-2 run, keyed by a pair of 3-pointers from DiOrio, to take a 66-62 lead with 8:57 left in the game.

KSC pulled within 70-69 with 6:58 to play, but the Polar Bears would slam the door with a 15-2 run over the next 5:33 to lead 85-71 with 1:25 remaining.

In all, the Polar Bears out-scored the Owls 49-24, enjoyed a 22-12 rebounding advantage and forced 10 Keene State turnovers in the second half.

Burger took over the game in the second half, scoring 24 of his 32 points in the final 20 minutes.

Ohio Northern was 33-of-56 from the floor for 50.0 percent and made 7-of-21 from 3-point range for 33.3 percent for the game, while Keene State made 25-of-57 field goals for 43.9 percent and was 2-of-10 from 3-point range for 20.0 percent

Each team had 37 rebounds.

ONU finished the tournament with a 2-0 record, which included an 84-64 win over Lynchburg (Va.) on Friday.

The Polar Bears will return to action Wednesday evening when they host Ohio Athletic Conference foe Otterbein at 7 pm at the ONU Sports Center.