College basketball: Ewing sparks MC men to 76-71 win over ONU
RaNeal Ewing had an embarrassing grin on his face after missing a breakaway dunk about midway through the second half.
The 5-foot-11 sophomore wing had an even bigger smile later, though, after he converted four straight feebies at crunch time to give Marietta College a 76-71 triumph over Ohio Northern University in an Ohio Athletic Conference men’s basketball game at Ban Johnson Arena Saturday.
“My whole life, I’ve been facing challenges,” Ewing said. “I know my team wanted me to sink them. I had a little bit of pressure on my back, but I just stepped to the line and made them.”
Said Marietta head coach Jon VanderWal, “He made some big time plays down the stretch, and made some huge free-throws. He’s one of those kind of guys you want to have in there. He’s a gamer. He likes the limelight, and he came up big.”
Ewing and Pioneer teammate Garrett Stephenson each scored 16 points to share game-high scoring honors. Keith Richardson, Brennan McKean, and Eddy Grenert added nine points apiece for the navy blue and white winners. The 6-4 Grenert, a non-starter, also grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.
“This game was big for us,” Ewing said.
When MC (15-4 overall, 10-2 OAC) first played at ONU (10-9, 6-6) on Jan. 8, it dropped a 78-73 decision. Ewing was not available in that contest due to injury.
“We were down two guys (Ewing and Andy Dollman) up there (Ada),” VanderWal said. “Shoot, I think we might have played better up there than we played here today.
“We had a ton of mental breakdowns today. We did not execute our game plan very well. I thought our shot selection was horrendous. But at the end of the day, we’ve got a lot of talented kids, and we made just enough plays to squeak it out.”
Ohio Northern was paced by Isaiah Roux and Dominique Royal, who each tallied 13 points. Jordan Martin chipped in with 12, and Lucas Pennington had 11.
During first-half action, the game was nip and tuck with eight lead changes and four ties. With under a minute before the intermission, McKean drained a three to give the Pioneers a 38-36 advantage, going into the locker room.
Early in the second half, the Polar Bears had a 9-0 run, highlighted by a Royal slam, and led 45-38 at the 16:03 mark.
About a minute later, Marietta’s first bucket after the break came on Grenert’s putback, cutting it to five.
After Stephenson’s baseline jam reduced the MC deficit to 59-58, Ohio Northern signaled timeout.
Shortly after play was resumed, Stephenson nailed a jumper, and Ewing dialed long distance to give Marietta its first lead of the second half, 65-63.
ONU came back and took a four-point lead 69-65, but again MC hung tough as Richardson made a trey, and Stephenson scored on a putback to cut it to 71-70.
With almost a minute left in the contest, Ewing drove and converted in the paint to give the Pioneers a 72-71 advantage. Then, in the final seconds, the Dublin Scioto grad was a deadeye at the charity stripe, going 4-for-4, to seal the victory.
“We’ll take it,” VanderWal said. “We’re excited about it. I told the guys we should be ecstatic, because we didn’t play our best. and some how we made enough plays to win the game.”
Marietta College is scheduled to play at Muskingum University Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
Ohio Northern 66, Marietta 46
ADA – Ohio Northern jumped out to a 10-2 lead and never looked back in downing visiting Marietta College, 66-46, here Saturday afternoon in a Ohio Athletic Conference contest.
The Polar Bears (15-4, 8-4) were led by Jordan Kimes and Karissa Steffas with 12 points each while Brooke Espenschued added 10 points.
Marietta (9-10, 3-9 OAC) got 17 points from Jessica Brogan and 12 from Heather Booth.The Pioneers entertain Muskingum on Wednesday.