By Tim Glon
LAS VEGAS, Nev. — The Ohio Northern men's basketball team went ice cold in the second half and fell to Linfield (Ore.) 75-57 on the first day of the 9th annual D3hoops.com Classic on Thursday evening at the South Point Arena.
The Polar Bears (3-8 overall) were led by senior All-American Ryan Bruns (Chickasaw/Marion Local) with 22 points and 9 rebounds, while the Wildcats (8-2 overall) were led by Dempsey Roggenbuck with 20 points.
Bruns scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds in a solid first half as Ohio Northern led 33-31 at intermission.
But the Polar Bears struggled to shoot the ball in the second half, making just 3 of their first 22 shots and committing nine turnovers during that span, and were outscored 26-7 before a 3-pointer by sophomore Colton Bachman (Piqua) got ONU within 57-43 with 5:39 to go.
Bachman nailed two more 3-pointers and Bruns got a putback but the deficit was too much to overcome.
Bruns made a layup with 14:28 to go to put Ohio Northern up 40-37, but Linfield would score the next 20 points as ONU went scoreless for nearly nine minutes.
"We are not too far off as a team, but we can't have long stretches of time when we don't score," ONU head coach Rich Bensman said. "We were good in the first half with only six turnovers against a very good team that pressed us full court the entire game. We just have to take better care of the ball and make more shots to get over the hump."
In the first half, senior Grant McConnell (Fremont/Ross) nailed a 3-pointer to tie the game at 24-all and Donner followed with an and one to put ONU up 27-24 with 6:39 to go in the first period.
Two Donner free throws gave ONU a 31-28 lead with 4:18 to go in the half and junior Caleb Bryan (Pittsburgh, Pa./Montour) had a bucket with 20 seconds left in the period to give Northern its 33-31 halftime lead.
Ohio Northern was 21-of-62 from the floor for 33.9 percent and made 7-of-22 from beyond the arc for 31.8 percent, while Linfield made 22-of-49 field goals for 44.9 percent and were 11-of-22 from 3-point range for 50.0 percent.
ONU out-rebounded LC 39-36 behind the 7-point, 10-rebound performance by senior Daniel Donner (Bellville/Northmor).
The Polar Bears will return to action in their final game of the D3hoops.com Classic against North Central (Ill.) on Friday at 8 pm (11 pm EST) at the South Point Arena.