Sunday, February 16, 2003

Kentucky Wesleyan 71, NKU 68

By Carey Hoffman
Enquirer contributor

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS - It was another close call, but that's small consolation. For the first time since 1994, Northern Kentucky University dropped both games in a weekend homestand, and now the Norse's season of promise appears to be at a critical juncture.

Kentucky Wesleyan used a 10-0 burst to start the second half, then survived a late charge by NKU for a 71-68 victory in front of 2,017 at Regents Hall Saturday.

KWU, ranked No.4 in NCAA Division II, takes a two-game lead in the Great Lakes Valley Conference race over No.10 NKU and a pair of other teams.

"We just didn't finish, just like against Southern Indiana Thursday night," said NKU senior guard Brenden Stowers. "Come tournament time, you have to finish."

Tournament time is now only three games out on NKU's schedule, offering not many opportunities to put the current tailspin out of mind.

KWU confounded NKU Saturday with its quickness on both ends of the floor. Huggy Dye led KWU with 22 points. Fellow guard Marlon Parmer added 21.

Guard Mike Kelsey led NKU with 16 points - eight in the first 2:30 of the first half, and eight more in the final 2:38 of the game.

NKU appeared dead in the water, trailing 65-54 with 3:32 to play. But then KWU went five straight trips down the floor without scoring, and Kelsey hit a big 3, an unlikely stickback basket in traffic and three free throws after getting fouled behind the arc to help NKU get to within 67-66 with 28 seconds to play.

"We relaxed a little bit, and you can't do that against a good team," said KWU coach Ray Harper. "But we regrouped and made some big foul shots."

NKU trailed by three on its final three possessions. The only 3-pointer it attempted came at the final horn by Stowers with a hand in his face. It came up well short.

But the root of NKU's defeat could be traced to the start of the second half.

The Norse built their halftime lead from the perimeter, hitting six of 12 3-pointers in the first half.

"We talked at half about getting more aggressive on defense," Harper said. "We were too passive. We wanted to get out and run."

KWU scored three fast-break baskets in its flurry to open the half, and forward Damon Garris made three steals early in the half to put NKU on its heels. Offensively, Dye and Parmer penetrated into the lane all night. Of KWU's 25 baskets, 22 came from 10 feet or closer.

NKU struggled offensively until its second half rally. In the first 15 minutes of the half, the Norse were 0-for-5 on 3 -point tries and 2-of-10 at the foul line.

"Coming off a loss, we definitely should have won today," said Kelsey. "We knew this was a huge game. We knew we could beat Wesleyan because we beat them at their place. If we play our game, we're confident we can win."

NKU next plays at home Saturday against Indianapolis.

Kentucky Wesleyan (21-2, 14-2 GLVC) - Garris 5-10 1-2 11, Rogers 1-2 2-2 4, Dabney 1-5 5-6 7, Parmer 7-15 7-8 21, Dye 8-11 5-6 22, Zuerner 1-3 0-1 2, Key 2-4 0-2 4. Totals: 25-52 20-27 71.

NKU (19-5, 13-4 GLVC) - Smith 2-8 4-7 9, St.-Preux 3-9 1-2 8, Seabrooks 3-9 0-0 6, J. Stowers 0-0 2-2 2, Kelsey 5-12 3-3 16, Howell 1-3 1-2 4, B. Stowers 4-14 5-7 14, Rupe 4-5 1-6 9. Totals: 22-60 17-29 68.

Halftime: NKU 35-30. Attendance: 2,017. 3-point goals: KWU 1-7 (Rogers 0-1, Parmer 0-2, Dye 1-2, Zuerner 0-1, Key 0-1); NKU 7-21 (Smith 1-2, St.-Preux 1-3, Kelsey 3-8, Howell 1-3, B. Stowers 1-5).


NKU 73, KWC 62

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS - Amy Mobley scored 19 points and dished out four assists as NKU defeated Kentucky Wesleyan.

Bridget Flanagan and Connie Myers each added 15 points as NKU improved to 18-4 overall, 14-3 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

NKU, ranked No.21 in Division II, is unbeaten at home this season (12-0), and the Norse are 38-2 in Regents Hall during the past three years.

KENTUCKY WESLEYAN (5-18, 2-4 GLVC) - Warren 7-12 4-5 21, Vaal 2-6 0-0 4, Clarke 4-9 1-2 9, Mills 6-16 2-3 15, Peters 3-7 1-1 7, Reynolds 1-4 0-0 2, Aldrich 0-0 0-0 0, Purvis 0-2 0-0 0, Morton 2-3 0-0 4. Totals: 25-59 8-11 62.

NORTHERN KENTUCKY (18-4, 14-3) - Mobley 8-13 2-6 19, Polosky 5-9 2-3 12, Myers 7-12 1-3 15, Burrows 1-3 0-0 2, Flanagan 5-8 3-4 15, Sterling 1-3 1-2 4, Snardon 1-5 0-0 2, Brock 1-3 1-2 4. Totals: 29-56 10-20 73.

Halftime: NKU 35, KW 24. 3-pointers: KW 4-17 (Warren 3-7, Clarke 0-1, Mills 1-5, Peters 0-1, Reynolds 0-2, Purvis 0-1), NKU 5-13 (Mobley 1-3, Polosky 0-3, Burrows 0-1, Flanagan 2-3, Sterling 1-2, Brock 1-1). Rebounds: KW 28 (Clarke 9), NKU 41 (Brock 11). Assists: KW 6 (Reynolds 3), NKU 20 (Burrows 6). Technical fouls - None. Attendance - 809.

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