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Norse Score First Conference Win at North Florida

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Chad Jackson and Eshaunte Jones combined for 40 points Wednesday night as Northern Kentucky won its first Atlantic Sun Conference game with a 65-52 victory at North Florida.

Jackson finished with 21 points and collected five steals as NKU improved to 3-7 overall, 1-1 in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Jones added 19 points and nine rebounds off the bench for the Norse, who held North Florida (6-9 overall, 1-1 A-Sun) to just 32.7 percent shooting from the field.

North Florida, in fact, went the final 7:29 of the game without a field goal as NKU closed with a 16-2 run after trailing 50-49 with 6:12 remaining.

Ethan Faulkner ignited the late spurt by scoring seven points in the final three minutes, including a clutch 3-pointer that extended NKU's lead to 56-50. Faulkner finished with a season-high 12 points.

“We wanted to control the tempo, and I thought we did a good job of that,” NKU head coach Dave Bezold said. “Sometimes if the home team is behind at halftime, they have more energy at the beginning of the second half, and North Florida did.

“They rebounded the ball very well, but we handled some of the rebounds late and made big plays when we had to in order to get a huge road win.”

Jackson just missed tying his career-high point total of 22, and he finished 9-for-17 from the field. Jones did not start for the first time all season, but the senior guard netted 11 points in the second half and tied his career high with nine rebounds.

North Florida finished with a 40-29 advantage in rebounds, but the Ospreys were just 5-for-25 from 3-point range. The home team also managed just two free throws during the final 7:49 of the game as NKU walked out with its first A-Sun victory.

Tyler White added seven points and four rebounds in his first collegiate start. The freshman also added two steals and a pair of assists.

Beau Beech led North Florida with 17 points. The Ospreys turned the ball over 15 times, compared to just six turnovers for NKU. The Norse are now 10-4 all-time in games played in the state of Florida.

NKU plays its home opener Saturday at 7 p.m. against South Carolina Upstate in The Bank of Kentucky Center. The Norse played their opening 10 games of the season away from home, with trips to California, Texas, Virginia, Maryland and Florida as part of their first-year Division I odyssey.

Source: NKU Sports Information