ADA -- Sophomore Lucas Penningto tied a career-high with 22 points to lead the Ohio Northern men's basketball team in a 79-70 loss to Otterbein Wednesday evening at the ONU Sports Center.The Polar Bears fall to 6-5 overall and are 2-2 in Ohio Athletic Conference play, while the Cardinals improve to 5-4, 2-2.
Pennington nailed four 3-pointers and added two assists and three steals to go with his game-high 22 points.
Junior Branden Rushton added 16 points and junior Dominique Royal added 13 points for ONU.
Otterbein was led by Andy Yazrombek with 21 points and C.J. Julian with 14 points.
Yazrombeck scored 11 consecutive points for Otterbein in the game's final 3:31 to help the Cardinals hang on for the win.
OU led 46-30 after a pair of free throws by Julian with 16:17 left in the game as the Polar Bears missed their first eight field goal attempts of the second half.
But Pennington hit a three, Royal scored a basket and Rushton nailed a three as ONU went on a quick 8-2 spurt to pull within 48-38.
Northern would score seven straight to get within 50-43 at the 12:03 mark.
A three-pointer by junior Jared Horstman would pull Ohio Northern within 63-61 with 4:44 left in the game.
Royal converted a three-point play at the 3:13 mark to get ONU back within 68-66.
But that's when Yazrombeck would take control of the contest and thwart the Polar Bears' rally.
Northern finished the game 25 of 63 from the field for 39.7 percent, while Otterbein would make 27 of 53 field goal attempts for 50.9 percent.
The Cardinals won the rebounding battle by a 44-23 margin, but the Polar Bear defense forced OU into 17 turnovers while committing only eight themselves.
ONU will return to action on Jan. 2 with a road contest at Marietta at 7:30 pm.