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Chattanooga Holds Off Norse

Tayler Persons scored a game- and career-high 30 points, but Northern Kentucky (4-6) could not overcome a second-half deficit in a 93-81 loss at Chattanooga (6-5) on Tuesday night.

“I was proud of our guys for the way they fought back in the second half,” said head coach Dave Bezold. “We didn’t have enough sense of urgency on the defensive end in the first half and early into the second. But, once our guys found that urgency, we made a little run to get back into the game. Unfortunately, we just dug too large of a hole to climb back out.”

Persons was 7-of-15 from the floor and a perfect 14-of-14 from the free-throw line. The freshman guard also dished out a game-high-tying five assists.

Coming out of intermission, Chattanooga put an 8-1 run on the board to force Bezold to take a timeout. NKU responded with a 7-2 spurt of its own, but UTC countered with its second run of the half. The 15-4 run from the Mocs put NKU in a 21-point hole, 77-56, with just under 11 minutes remaining.

NKU hung around and kept the margin at 19 with 7:09 on the clock. That is when the Norse found consistency on the defensive end of the floor.

Stout defense held the Mocs scoreless until the 1:23 mark of the frame. In the meantime, the Norse scored eight points and had several other point-blank opportunities to further cut the lead.

Though shaky, Chattanooga was able to seal the win at the free-throw line. The final nine points for the Mocs were tallied at the charity stripe.

Northern Kentucky finished the game shooting 49.1 percent (26-of-53), including 38.5 percent (5-of-13) from long range. However, Chattanooga connected on 62.8 percent (27-for-43) from the floor and 50 percent (13-for-26) beyond the arc.

Jalen Billups joined Persons in double figures, tallying 16 points on 8-for-10 shooting from the floor. The junior forward added five rebounds to the cause.

In a wild first half that saw both teams shoot over 58 percent, Chattanooga used a late 14-6 run over the final three-and-a-half minutes to take a 12-point margin, 54-42, into the break.

Northern Kentucky connected on 58.3 percent (14-of-24) of its shots in the frame but surrendered 72.7 percent (16-of-22) shooting to Chattanooga. Persons had 12 points to lead eight Norse who scored in the frame.

Greg Pryor led Chattanooga with 24 points, while Ronrico White chipped in with 20. Casey Jones gave the Mocs a third double-digit scorer with 13.

A second-consecutive road game awaits NKU, as the Norse will travel to Morehead State for a Friday night showdown. The game marks the third contest in six days for the Norse.

From NKU Norse

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