TIFFIN -- A dominant first half of shooting for the visitors doomed the Heidelberg University men's basketball team at home on Valentine's Day eve.
ONU (6-18, 2-15 OAC) shot 19-of-29 in the first half, including a 66% clip from 3-point range to make the difference. The 23-point halftime deficit proved to be insurmountable for the Berg (8-16, 6-11) as they fell 82-73 in Seiberling Gymnasium.
Myron Prewitt did what he could to drive the second-half comeback with a 24-point effort, including 17 points in the final 20 minutes alone.
Dylan Woods also contributed heavily on the offensive end with 19 points.
With the loss, the Berg remains in seventh place in the OAC, firmly locked into the conference postseason tournament. Saturday's game at No. 19 Marietta College will play a role in determining final seeding.
Up 18-14, the Berg felt as if they held the control of the game. However, a 18-0 run by the Polar Bears quickly altered those thoughts.
A tough up-and-under move by Josh Dixon got the Berg back on the scoreboard, but only briefly. ONU used the floor to pocket the next eight points to spread the gap to 20 points.
Ohio Northern continued their hot half and ended the half with a 23-point advantage. Caleb Bryan connected on all seven of his shot attempts for 15 first-half points. Behind his efforts, the Polar Bears shot an electric 65% from the floor.
The extra attention given to the league's top two scorers and two of the top three rebounders was evident from the opening tip. The 6-8 Ryan Bruns of ONU and 6-5 Myron Prewitt yielded a combined 4-of-11 shooting in the first 20 minutes, and just five boards.
Prewitt did not take kindly to the lackluster first half by the Berg. In just the first three minutes of play, Prewitt put in six points and collected three boards.
Behind Prewitt's efforts, Dylan Woods began to come alive. A slick 3-point play followed by a fastbreak layup forced an ONU timeout with the gap trimmed to 14 points.
Watkins briefly checked out of the game, but re-entered after a pair of Prewitt free throws. His spark forced a turnover and sent Jimmy Hanley to the line, where he calmly converted both attempts.
Over the final five minutes, the Polar Bears held the comeback efforts at bay, by converting free throws and working opportunities in the paint, en route to scoring 38 points in the key.
The visitors capitalized on the Berg's desperation foul attempts as cashed in 17 second half free throws to ice the game.
Although beat out on the boards overall, Heidelberg held the upper hand on the offensive glass with 11. They used those second-chance opportunities to add on 10 points over the game.
Bruns improved his cold first half and finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots. Six of the seven ONU players reached double figures to balance out their scoring.
The Student Princes will travel to Marietta on Saturday for a 3 p.m. start time. The game will loom heavily on final OAC tournament seedings.