By: Andrew Korba
ADA -- The No. 4 seeded Ohio Northern men's basketball team saw its season come to a close with a 92-81 loss to No. 5 seed John Carroll in the OAC Tournament Quarterfinals on Tuesday evening.
The Polar Bears finish with a 16-10 record.
The Blue Streaks (17-10) advance to play top seed Mount Union on Thursday evening.
Senior Branden Rushton led the Polar Bears with 19 points.
Joey Vuyancih led five John Carroll players in double figure scoring with 19 points.
The Blue Streaks came out strong and built a 19-10 lead with 13:09 left in the first half.
JCU continued to build its lead and opened up a 28-15 advantage.
But ONU used a 15-8 run over the last seven minutes of the first half, with Rushton scoring 10 points, to cut the John Carroll lead to 36-30 at the break.
JCU came out of the half and pushed its lead to 52-39 with just over 14 minutes to play.
A 3-pointer by Pennington with 3:28 remaining trimmed the JCU lead to 75-67.
But the Blue Steaks would go a perfect 15-of-15 from the free throw line in the final three minutes to put the game away.
"Give John Carroll credit, they deserved to win," said head coach Kevin Byrne. "We got off to a slow start and just couldn't get all the way back on track."
ONU finished 28-of-65 (43.1 percent) from the field and 18-of-23 (78.3 percent) from the free throw line, while JCU was 28-of-63 (44.4 percent) shooting and 30-of-36 (83.3 percent) from the charity stripe.
JCU won the rebounding battle by a slim 39-38 margin.
"Our seniors had three great careers," Byrne added. "They are the reason that we put together this run in the second half of the season. They leave this program in great hands."