By Caleb Scott
NEW CONCORD — Senior Nate Burger (Dayton/Alter) and junior Ryan Bruns (Chickasaw/Marion Local) each posted double-doubles as the Ohio Northern men's basketball team rallied from a 17-point first half deficit to claim an 82-69 victory over Muskingum on Saturday afternoon.
The Polar Bears improve to 15-6 overall and remain in the hunt in the Ohio Athletic Conference as it improves its conference record to 10-4, while the Muskies drop to 8-13, 6-8.
Bruns led the way in the contest as he posted his ninth straight game with at least 20 points, while scoring a team-best 26 points and grabbing a game-high 14 rebounds.
Burger added 19 points and 10 rebounds and fell just four assists shy of recording a triple-double.
Senior Joey DiOrio (Columbus/Watterson) added 14 points for Northern.
The Muskies got out of the gate quick, jumping out to a 14-6 lead with 15:12 left in the first half.
Northern would fight back over the next nine minutes to knot the game at 25-all with 6:28 left in the half.
From there, the Muskies would catch fire and close the half on a 22-5 run capped off by a 3-pointer from Marcus Dempsey to take a commanding 47-30 lead into the break.
An 8-2 run to begin the half allowed Northern to get within striking distance as it cut the Musky lead to 49-38 just under three minutes into the second half.
A 3-pointer from Bruns with 6:58 remaining in the contest tied the game at 63-63. From there ONU closed the contest out on a 19-6 run to seal the 82-69 victory.
Northern was 29-of-64 (45.3 percent) from the field, including 7-of-25 (28.0 percent) from the 3-point line, while Muskingum was 25-of-69 (36.2 percent) from the field, including 8-of-31 (25.8 percent) from 3-point range.
The Polar Bears won the battle on the glass 53-32 and outscored the Muskies in the paint by a 42-8 margin.
Northern returns to action on Wednesday evening as it travels to Heidelberg to take on the Student Princes for a 7 pm matchup.