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North Florida Downs NKU in Final Seconds, Women Fall to Stetson


Jalen Nesbitt's follow-up basket with 1.1 seconds remaining in the game lifted North Florida to a 67-66 victory over Northern Kentucky on Thursday night.

North Florida trailed 66-65 with 16.8 seconds left and fouled Todd Johnson, who missed the front end of the bonus. Dallas Moore dribbled up the floor and missed a short jumper in the closing seconds, but Nesbitt grabbed the loose ball after a tip attempt and scored with 1.1 seconds remaining to give North Florida a 67-66 lead.

Northern Kentucky attempted a length-of-the-court pass on its final possession, but the Ospreys knocked the ball away as the buzzer sounded.

"It's a tough way to lose, because we battled and had a great chance to win this game," Norse head coach Dave Bezold said. "If we block out on that last play the way we're supposed to, they don't get the rebound and score. Tough loss, no question." 

Moore scored 21 points to lead North Florida, which improved to 12-11 overall, 6-4 in the Atlantic Sun Conference. The Ospreys made 46.2 percent of their shots from the field and were 14-for-20 at the free-throw line.

Johnson poured in 18 points to pace Northern Kentucky (8-14 overall, 4-6 A-Sun), while teammate Tyler White scored 17. The Norse shot 43.5 percent from the field, including 9-for-17 from 3-point range. Northern Kentucky made just 33.3 percent of its attempts (3-for-9) from the free-throw line.

Northern Kentucky finished with a 23-11 advantage in bench points as Daniel Camps scored eight and Jack Flournoy added seven.

Northern Kentucky wraps up its two-game road trip Saturday by playing Jacksonville at 3:15 p.m.

Box score

Stetson Rolls Over NKU Women

Sasha Sims and Amber Porter combined for 34 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Stetson University women's basketball team to a 90-66 victory over Northern Kentucky University in Atlantic Sun Conference action on Thursday at The Bank of Kentucky Center.

Porter, the reigning Atlantic Sun Newcomer of the Week for the fourth time this season, scored 17 points on 5-for-7 shooting from the floor and grabbed nine rebounds for Stetson, which improved to 15-5 overall and 7-1 in the Atlantic Sun.  Porter also dished out three assists, while Sims finished with 17 points, six rebounds and two assists.

Lauren White finished with a career-high 23 points to lead the way for NKU, which fell to 10-9 overall and 6-2 in the Atlantic Sun.  She finished 7-for-12 from the floor and knocked down five 3-point field goals.  The freshman from Edwardsville, Ill., also grabbed five rebounds and collected one assist, blocked shot and steal on the night.

"Lauren came in and really gave us a boost in a couple of different areas," NKU head coach Dawn Plitzuweit said.  "Any time you can score in a variety of ways, it opens up the court for you, and we didn't have a lot of that tonight, but Stetson did.  Early in the game, they hit a couple of threes and later on they were able to get to the rim.  That's something we'll have to adjust to and get better at."

Back-to-back 3-point field goals by Brianti Saunders and Jama Sharp jumped Stetson out to an early 6-0 lead, but an 11-2 run gave NKU an 11-8 advantage with 12:38 left in the first half.  Kayla Thacker and Melody Doss each scored four points for the Norse during the spurt.

The Hatters, however, answered with an 11-0 run to regain the lead at 19-11 less than two minutes later.  Stetson stretched its lead to 10 (27-17), but NKU capitalized on the Hatters' turnovers to spark a 13-5 run to come to within 32-30 with 3:13 left in the half.

Both teams traded points the rest of the way as Stetson took a 37-35 advantage into halftime.  NKU forced the Hatters into 12 turnovers and shot 41.9 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes.  The Norse knocked down six 3-pointers before the break, and Stetson finished at 48.1 percent from the field in the first half.

The Hatters held NKU scoreless for almost seven minutes to open the second half and used a 19-5 run for a 56-40 lead to break the game open with 11:14 left on the clock.  Stetson eventually stretched its lead to 28 points (82-54), and the Norse would get no closer than 24 the rest of the way.

"Tonight, Stetson played very, very well," Plitzuweit said. "I give them a lot of credit. They're a very good team. They played very aggressively, and I thought they played very hard and beat us to a lot of scenarios that really hurt us."

Sharp added 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists and six steals for the Hatters.  Cherisse Burris finished with 11 points and seven rebounds and went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line.

Christine Roush extended her double-figure scoring streak to seven games with her 12-point performance and dished out six assists for the Norse, while Thacker scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds on the night.

Stetson finished with a 43-36 advantage on the boards and shot 48.2 percent from the floor for the game. 

With the win, the Hatters now hold a 2-1 advantage in the all-time series between the two programs.  Last season, NKU defeated Stetson, 73-68, at The Bank of Kentucky Center to avenge an early-season 62-39 road loss.

NKU concludes its homestand on Saturday as the Norse welcome top-ranked Florida Gulf Coast to The Bank of Kentucky Center at 7 p.m.  The Eagles defeated Lipscomb, 85-67, Thursday to remain undefeated in Atlantic Sun play at 8-0 and 14-6 overall.

"FGCU is the top team in the league, and I think Stetson is right there with them," Plitzuweit said.  "Our toughness is going to be tested this weekend, and we play a very good team on Saturday.  Our kids will come back and be hungry."

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