Norse Pick Up Win at Idaho, Even Record at 3-3
Northern Kentucky is back at .500 after picking up its third win of the year at Idaho, a couple days after falling at Eastern Washington.
After creating an 11-point lead at the half, the Norse allowed Idaho to get back in the game and even take the lead, but a gritty performance down the stretch provided NKU with the 79-74.
Led by freshman guard Tayler Persons, NKU outscored Idaho, 11-6, over the final 2:15 of the game to pull out the win.
"That was an important road win for us tonight," said head coach Dave Bezold. "Our guys showed a lot of composure after Idaho battled back to tie the game, and we made the necessary plays down the stretch to pull out the victory. I'm proud of the way we fought from the tip to the final buzzer."
The win puts NKU back at .500 for the second time this season with a 3-3 record. Idaho falls to 2-3 on the year with its third-straight loss.
After NKU led by as many as 14 points early in the second half, Idaho slowly whittled away and eventually tied the game at 66. The two teams traded points before NKU took control.
A pair of Persons' free throws and junior guard Tyler White's lay-in surrounded an Idaho free throw and pushed NKU ahead, 72-69, with just under two minutes remaining.
Senior guard Chad Jackson followed with a steal and went the length of the court for a tough, contested lay-up, providing Northern Kentucky with a five-point cushion, 74-69.
Persons went 5-of-6 at the charity stripe over the final 30-seconds to seal the victory for Northern Kentucky.
Four Norse reached double-digits, paced by Persons' career-high 23. Persons was efficient on the offensive end, shooting 7-of-9 from the floor and 9-of-10 from the charity stripe. He added two rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Daniel Camps added 14 points for the second-straight game, while Cole Murray chipped in 11 first-half points and Jalen Billups scored 10.
Jackson narrowly missed double-figure scoring with nine on the evening. He led the Norse with a team-high six boards.
On the evening, NKU made 57.1 percent (29-of-49) of its field-goal attempts, while limiting Idaho to 42.9 percent (24-of-56).
An efficient effort on both ends of the floor gave NKU a 39-28 lead at the break. The Norse connected on 56 percent (14-of-26) of its shots, while limiting the Vandals to just 32.1 percent on 9-of-28 shooting.
Connor Hill had 22 points for the Vandals and Bira Seck posted a double-double with 12 points and game-high 14 boards.
NKU returns to Highland Heights, Kentucky, and The Bank of Kentucky Center for a three-game home stand that kicks off on Wednesday, Dec. 3, against UT Martin. The Norse will follow with games against West Virginia on Sunday, Dec. 7 and UC-Clermont on Sunday, Dec. 14.
NKU Women Outlast UNC-Greensboro
The Northern Kentucky University women's basketball team placed three players in double-figures as the Norse defeated UNC Greensboro, 66-58, in the final game of the Navy Classic on Saturday at Alumni Hall.
Melody Doss led the NKU offense with 19 points, and she added six rebounds, while Kaitlyn Gerrety recorded the first double-double of the season for the Norse, scoring 11 points and pulling down 10 boards. Christine Roush added 11 points and seven rebounds for NKU (4-3) as well.
The NKU defense started out strong, forcing turnovers on UNC Greensboro's first three possessions and limiting the Spartans to just one field goal in the first seven minutes of the game, as the Norse jumped out to an early 12-4 lead with 13:15 remaining in the opening stanza.
The Norse eventually pushed their lead to double-digits, taking a 27-14 lead on a 9-2 run with five minutes left in the first half. NKU held a 31-18 advantage with just over three minutes remaining, but UNC Greensboro (2-4) ended the half on a 5-0 run to cut the Norse lead to 31-23 at the halftime break.
Both teams traded points over the first three minutes of the second half before a 7-2 run from UNC Greensboro sliced the NKU lead to 40-34 with 12:52 left on the clock. The Norse responded with six straight points to push their advantage back to double-figures at 46-34 with 9:39 remaining.
NKU eventually stretched its lead to 15 (56-41) at the 4:25 mark on a pair of free throws from Rianna Gayheart, but the Spartans responded with an 12-3 run to cut the Norse advantage to 59-53 with 1:02 left.
Doss connected on a layup to stretch the Norse lead to 61-53 with just under a minute on the clock. A 3-pointer from Shanese Harris reduced the NKU advantage to 61-56 with 22 seconds remaining, but Doss andMikayla Terry connected on five free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
The Norse finished with a slim 40-39 edge in rebounds, and the team pulled down 13 offensive boards against UNC Greensboro. NKU connected on 20-of-48 attempts from the field to finish the game at 41.7 percent from the floor while holding the Spartans to 35.2 percent (19-for-54).
Gerrety finished with four assists, four steals and two blocked shots, while Rianna Gayheart scored eight points and dished out three assists for the Norse.
Harris led UNC Greensboro with 14 points, four rebounds and two steals, and Lucy Mason added 13 points, three rebounds, three assists and five steals. Jade Scaife pulled down a team-high seven boards and dished out two assists to go along with two points for the Spartans.
NKU continues its five-game road trip on Wednesday, Dec. 3 as the Norse travel south to Lexington, Kentucky, to take on No. 9/10 Kentucky. Tipoff from Memorial Coliseum is set for 7 p.m. Links to live stats, live audio and the SEC Network broadcast are available at NKUNorse.com. Follow @NKUNorseGameDay on Twitter this season for live NKU women's basketball games updates as well.