ADA, Ohio - Ohio Northern University (ONU) erased a 10-point deficit in the final eight minutes and hit a game-winning basket in the final minute to slip by the Wilmington College men's basketball team 62-61 in Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) action on Saturday evening.
The Fightin' Quakers jumped out to an 11-2 lead in the first three minutes thanks to triples from Jalen Horton, Jeffery Mansfield and Matt Smith. The Polar Bears seemed to settle down defensively after that, holding Wilmington to just a Bilal Sow basket over the next six minutes. Consecutive baskets from Jayden Lewis and Mansfield broke a 13-13 tie midway through the half.
Neither squad led by more than a possession for seven minutes until a Hunter Rucker triple with three minutes to play put Wilmington ahead 31-25. ONU would answer with the final two baskets of the half, however, to make the score 31-29 at halftime.
The second half began similarly to the first as the Quakers scored the first seven points of the session – four from Mansfield and three from Horton – to stretch the lead to nine. Wilmington would lead by as many as 10, but ONU kept within striking distance and got within a possession (52-50) on two free throws at the 5:35 mark. The teams traded punches until C.J. Napier scored consecutive baskets to put the hosts on top 62-61 with 39 seconds left.
A Wilmington turnover forced the Quakers to foul, but Napier missed the front end of a one-and-one with seven seconds to play. The Polar Bears, who were called for just a single foul in the first 19:50 of the half, had plenty of fouls to give. After two fouls on purpose, Mansfield drove into the lane in the final seconds, but couldn't deliver the game-winner.
Despite that, Mansfield led all scorers with 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting to go along with six rebounds and six assists. Sow added nine points and six boards off the bench while Jackson Todd grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.
Napier and Waugh once again led ONU in scoring with 16 and 12 points respectively.
Wilmington (0-2) returns to action next weekend against Muskingum University.