#9 Marietta downs Ohio Northern 100-85 for OAC Crown

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MARIETTA, Ohio — Senior Jack Thome poured in a career-high 25 points to lead No. 9 Marietta College over Ohio Northern University by the score of 100-85 Saturday (Feb. 18) afternoon in a packed Ban Johnson Arena.

The victory clinched Marietta's third straight Ohio Athletic Conference Regular Season Championship and the top seed in next week's conference tournament. The Pioneers are just the third school to win the regular season title outright three years in a row. Wittenberg (1959-61) and Otterbein (1990-92) are the other two.

Marietta finishes the regular season with a 21-4 overall record and 16-2 OAC mark. The Pioneers have won 12 straight games and will host No. 8 seed Heidelberg (11-14, 7-11 OAC) in the quarterfinals of the OAC Tournament on Tuesday (Feb, 21) at 8:00 p.m.

Ohio Northern falls to 16-9 overall and 14-4 in the OAC. The Polar Bears earned the No. 3 seed in the OAC Tournament and will host No. 6 Baldwin Wallace (13-12, 8-10 OAC) on Tuesday.

Thome, who missed 12 games this season due to an injury, was 10-of-16 from the floor and hit three from long range. 15 of his points came in the second half. Dillon Young and Anthony Wallace each scored 18 points, while Keith Richardson and RaNeal Ewing finished with 14 and 12 points, respectively.

Joey DiOrio drained seven three-pointers and finished with 21 points to lead the Polar Bears. Ryan Bruns had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. He also blocked five shots. Nate Burger chipped in with 14 points, while Aron Thress had 12 markers. Devon Allen added 10 points.

The first 12 minutes of the game were a back and forth affair with both teams holding small leads. Travis Feitshans scored a layup at the 8:00 mark to put the Polar Bears up by three, 26-23. It would be over three minutes before ONU would score again.

Marietta score 13 straight points, including six from Young, to go on top by 10 points, 36-26, with just under five minutes remaining in the first half. The Pioneers pushed the margin to as many as 14 points before heading into halftime with an 11-point advantage, 52-41.

The Polar Bears cut the deficit to single digits several times in the early part of the second half. But Marietta responded with a basket each time pushing it back to double digits.

Eight straight points from Thome extended the Pioneer lead to 16 points, 71-55, with 13 minutes left in the game. Marietta shot 63.3% in the second half and stretched the margin to as many as 21 points putting the game out of reach.

For the game, Marietta shot 57.7% (41-of-71) from the floor, 40.9% (9-of-22) from three-point range and 64.3% (9-of-14) at the free throw line. Ohio Northern was 32-of-66 (48.5%) from the floor, 13-of-32 (40.6%) behind the arc and 8-of-13 (61.5%) at the line.

The Polar Bears edged Marietta on the glass, 37-43. Marietta forced 18 ONU turnovers, while committing only six.