Racers Edge Defending Champion Wildcats
News Photo
Men's Basketball - Thu, Dec. 29, 2016
(3)Indiana Wesleyan University
(25)Northwestern Ohio
Ind. Wesleyan 14-2364379
Northwestern Ohio 12-4493180
Dec. 29, 2016
Lima, OH
Attendance: 432
Ind. WesleyanIndv. LeadersNorthwestern Ohio
#23 Lane Mahurin - 26Points #42 Lawrence Jackson - 30
#23 Lane Mahurin - 8Rebounds #42 Lawrence Jackson - 9
#32 Saikou Jallow - 9Assists #10 Nate Bradley - 4
Ind. WesleyanTeam StatisticsNorthwestern Ohio
46.8% (29 - 62) Field Goals % 43.9% (25 - 57)
32% (8 - 25) 3 Point Field Goals % 44% (11 - 25)
68.4% (13 - 19) Free Throws 95% (19 - 20)
30Rebounds 39
19Assists 15
11Turnovers 15
142nd Chance Pts 13

LIMA, Ohio – On Thursday night, the 25th-ranked University of Northwestern Ohio men's basketball team played host to the No. 3 Indiana Wesleyan Wildcats as the Racers looked to earn a monumental victory over the reigning NAIA Division II championship team.

A sizeable lead in the first half provided the Racers (12-4) comfort, but a second half awakening by IWU (14-2) down to the wire as UNOH edged the Wildcats in The Garage, 80-79.

After surrendering the front end of a trip to the free throw line, the Racers burst out to an 8-1 lead in the first three minutes of the contest. UNOH then led until 10:03 to go in the game when IWU took the lead 61-60 with a layup plus a free throw. The teams traded the lead seven times the rest of the way before the final score.

First, Sadeeq Bello hit a 3-pointer before a Lawrence Jackson steal led to a Jackson slam dunk off of a Corbin Pierce assists. The series forced IWU to burn a timeout to prevent a bigger shift in momentum for UNOH. The timeout work as the Wildcats regained the lead, but it was Bello who proved to be the difference down the stretch.

Despite dealing with a cut under his eye for the majority of the contest, the junior guard converted all six of his free throws in crunch time which included a pair with six seconds on the clock for the final points of the game. His perfect 12-for-12 performance ties Jason Sarno (Dec. 12, 2007) and Todd Watkins (Jan. 15, 2011) for most free throws made on a flawless night at the line.

"Bello is a competitor and a winner," said Racer head coach Chris Adams. "I think he and the team were disappointed in the performance in Las Vegas and they all showed a lot of guts and savvy tonight."

Jackson led all scorers with 30 points, 19 of which in the first half, as he was a rebound shy of a double-double. Bello followed for UNOH with 24 points while Nate Bradley dished out a team-best four assists.

"I was really proud of the effort put forth by the entire team. We had some guys who played extremely well defensively like Nate Bradley and Ziar Anderson and then our offensive go-to guys in Sadeeq Bello and Lawrence Jackson played well tonight," added Adams. "I felt like Lawrence showed his prowess and put the team on his back, especially in the first half. I thought the guys then did a great job in the second half getting in on some back doors and overplays."

For IWU, Lane Mahurin led the way with 26 points and was aided by Jacob Johnson's 20 points and Saikou Jallow's nine assists.

The win was huge in the eyes of Adams as he was excited his team was able to compete against the tough competition.

"Win or lose, I'm pleased overall with our team's effort tonight," the tenth-year coach concluded. "Indiana Wesleyan is a very good program and team. Anytime you can keep it close and take your chances is a win."

As an athletic program, the Racers are a perfect 3-0 in head-to-head competition against defending national champions during the 2016-17 seasons. Men's soccer upset Rio Grande, 2-0, on Sept. 17, and the women's team dethroned Spring Arbor in the championship game on Dec. 3, 1-0.

UNOH returns to action after the turn of the calendar as the Racers host the Lourdes University Gray Wolves on Wednesday, Jan. 4. The Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference contest is scheduled to tip-off at 7:30 following the women's contest in Lima.