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Men’s Basketball Upsets Ohio Northern in OAC Quarterfinals

Jay Battle
Jay Battle

ADA, Ohio – The sixth-seeded Baldwin Wallace University men's basketball upset the third-seed Ohio Northern University, 72-71, in an Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament quarterfinal thriller inside the ONU Sports Center. The win was BW's fourth straight this season and secured a sixth straight winning season, including the second straight for second-year Head Coach Tom Heil.

BW (14-12), who advances to the OAC semifinals for the third straight year, will host the seventh-seed Muskingum University in the second game of a men's and women's doubleheader in Ursprung Gymnasium inside the Lou Higgins Center at 8 p.m. The Yellow Jacket women (21-4), who are seeded second, play at 6 p.m.

BW had three players score in double figures led by sophomore guard Jay Battle (Gahanna/ Lincoln) as he scored a team-high 18 points, grabbed three rebounds and passed for five assists. Freshman guard Michael Quiring (Brunswick) came off the bench to add 16 points, including five-of-nine shooting from three-point range, and freshman forward Tyler Colombo (Strasburg/Tuscarawas Central Catholic) also contributed 10 points and five rebounds off the bench. A big key in the win was the Yellow Jackets making 16 three-pointers (in 40 attempts), including 12 in the first half.

ONU (16-10) had two players score in double figured led by sophomore Ryan Bruns as he scored a game-high 29 points. Senior All-OAC forward Aron Thress contributed 12 points.

After a back-and-forth first eight minutes of the game, Polar Bear senior guard Devon Allen knocked down a three to tie the game at 14-14 at the 12:08 mark. The Yellow Jackets went on a 24-10 run capped off by a three-pointer from Quiring which gave BW a 38-24 lead with 3:08 left in the half.

The Yellow Jackets outscored the Ohio Northern 8-5 to close out the half and take a 46-33 lead at the intermission when junior two-time All-OAC guard Cam Kuhn (Vermilion) buried a trey at the buzzer. Quiring made four of BW's 12 three-pointers and scored 12 of the Yellow Jackets 18 bench points in the first half.

In the second half, BW extend its lead to 56-39 with a short 10-6 run when Battle made both of his free throws at the 17:58 mark. The Polar Bears responded with a 27-8 to give them their first lead at 66-64 since the 19:32 mark of the first half as Burns scored on layup in the paint with 5:34 left in regulation.

After two lead changes in the last five minutes, the Yellow Jackets won the game when junior All-OAC Forward Jake Fetherolf (Norwalk) followed up a missed shot with a layup with nine seconds remaining. ONU had a look to win the game, but its three-point shot hit the front of the rim with two seconds left, and BW grabbed the loose ball and earned its win.

The OAC Tournament Championship game will be contested on Saturday, February 25 at 7 p.m. on the campus of the highest remaining seed from Thursday's semifinal games. In the other men's semifinal game, top-seeded Marietta College (22-4) hosts fourth-seeded the University of Mount Union (15-12). In the other women's semifinal, top-seeded, unbeated and No.5-ranked ONU (25-0) hosts fourth-seeded Marietta (16-10).