By Blake Moore
ADA — All-American senior Ryan Bruns (Chickasaw/Marion Local) finished with 33 points and eight rebounds Saturday afternoon, guiding the Ohio Northern men's basketball program to an 86-66 victory over in-state foe Denison inside the ONU Sports Center to cap an undefeated first week in the 2018-19 campaign.
The senior center registered a 42% clip from the floor on 10-of-24 shooting while also going 13-for-16 at the charity stripe to pace the ONU offense efforts. In addition, the Chickasaw native would lead the defensive initiatives with a team-high three steals and three blocks.
With the win, the Polar Bears move to 2-0 overall while Denison falls to 0-2 in the early season.
Junior guard Austin Allemeier (Elida) and freshman guard Ty Staten (Proctorville/Fairland) joined Bruns in double-digits with 12 and 10 points, respectively. The duo would also rack up seven rebounds each to finish second on the team while the latter was credited with a team-best four assists.
As a team, Ohio Northern shot 47.7% from the floor, including 33.3% from long-range. The Polar Bears also registered a 22-for-28 mark from the free throw line, a 78.6% conversion rate, and out-rebound the Big Red 42-35 in the victory.
Freeman Brou paced the visitors with 10 points off the bench and tied for the team lead with six rebounds.
The two programs would battle hard through the first 20 minutes with no team able to build a solid lead through the first stanza. Midway through the first, ONU would claim a 20-13 edge for the largest lead in the half when Bruns scored on an Allemeier assist. However, the Big Red would continue to fight and trail by just five points headed into the locker rooms.
In the second half, Northern would extend their lead to 66-54 with under 10 minutes to go in the contest on a Bruns' basket. The senior's contribution would be the beginning of a 12-2 run for the home side over the next three minutes, which provided the Polar Bears a comfortable lead to seal the weekend affair.
Ohio Northern is set to return to action Tuesday evening with their first road game this season when they travel to Hope (Mich.). Game time is set for 8 p.m. in Holland, Michigan.