By Tim Glon
CINCINNATI — Senior Nate Burger (Dayton/Alter) poured in a career-high 33 points and freshman Brandon Waugh (Columbus/Northland) added 11 points as the Ohio Northern men's basketball team dropped a tight 77-73 decision to No. 9-ranked Washington (Mo.) on Saturday afternoon at the Harrington Center.
The Polar Bears (1-1 overall) will now wrap up the Mount Saint Joseph Tip-Off Classic on Saturday with a 3 pm contest against Case Western Reserve (0-3).
The Bears (4-0 overall) had four players in double figures in scoring, led by Jake Knupp with 17 points.
Northern led 33-24 at halftime, but Washington was red-hot in the final 15:20, making 14-of-20 field goals and 4-of-5 3-pointers to outscore ONU 53-40 in the second half.
Burger scored with 15:41 to play to put the Polar Bears ahead 43-30, then added a pair of free throws at the 14:33 mark to make it 45-32.
A 14-2 Bear run got Washington within 47-46 with 10:33 to play.
Burger made two free throws and followed that with a 3-pointer to put ONU back on top 64-58 with 5:18 remaining.
WU scored the next eight points to go up 66-64, but Waugh answered with a basket at the 2:51 mark to tie the game at 66-all.
Senior Travis Feitshans (Arcanum/Franklin Monroe) made a pair of free throws with 1:23 to go to get ONU within 69-68, but Knupp would make a 3-pointer with 52 seconds left to extend the lead to 72-68.
Northern had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds down 73-70, but Burger's shot with 7 seconds left was off the mark and WU would make four free throws in the final four seconds to ice the game.
Ohio Northern made just 28-of-63 field goals for 44.4 percent and were 5-of-16 from 3-point range for 31.3 percent, while Washington was 21-of-61 from the floor for 34.4 percent but made 7-of-12 threes for 58.3 percent.
ONU out-rebounded WU 44-36, led by six rebounds apiece from Burger and Feitshans.