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Northern Kentucky Beats Green Bay, Moves to 4th Place in Horizon

Northern Kentucky moved into a tie for fourth place in the Horizon League as the Norse knocked off the conference's second-best team on Thursday night.

NKU topped Green Bay, 69-67, at BB&T Arena in Highland Heights improving to 16-9 on the season and 7-5 in the Horizon.

The Norse took the lead early, never relinquishing it, and were able to close out the victory after the Phoenix came within two points with 5:16 to play and stayed within six points of the Norse throughout the remainder of the game.

Green Bay drops to 15-10 as it suffered just its fourth loss of League play to fall to 9-4.

"Truly proud of the win, first and foremost. To beat Green Bay, just a championship-caliber team, one of the oldest teams in the country, tremendous pedigree," NKU head coach John Brannen said. "So, a great win for our program and for our young men."

Brannen said the game was a good learning experience after NKU, earlier in the season, went to Green Bay and built a 15-point lead that the Phoenix eventually erased in beating the Norse.

Cole Murray led the Norse with 17 points, including five 3-pointers. Jeff Garrett added 10 points in 14 minutes of play. Brennan Gillis and Drew McDonald matched Garret with 10 points apiece, which was a career-high tying mark for Gillis. Gillis also added four rebounds and a pair of assists. Lavone Holland II tied his career-high in steals with five and also added three assists and eight points on a 2-for-3 performance from behind the arc.

Murray said the game was a great team effort and Gillis credited the win to being a tougher team.

The Phoenix scored the game’s final four points, two of which came from the free-throw line. However, NKU forced a pair of key Green Bay turnovers in the final 34-seconds to help seal the victory.

The Norse improve to 10-2 when at least four Norse score in double-figures.

With his five 3-pointers on Thursday, Murray is one triple shy of tying for fifth all-time at NKU in career triples3-pointers made. He now has 237. Further, he is one point shy of breaking into the top-40 all-time in career scoring. Murray entered the game ranked No. 25 in the nation with 74 made threes this year.

It was NKU's first-ever win in four tries against Green Bay.

Northern Kentucky turns around to take on Milwaukee at home at 7 p.m. on Saturday that will feature homecoming for Northern Kentucky.

-Staff report

Image via NKU