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Norse Routed by West Virginia in Season Opener

Northern Kentucky opened its season on the wrong end of a 107-61 drubbing at West Virginia on Friday night.

The #23 Mountaineers had no trouble with the Norse.

“I thought despite the slow start and large halftime deficit that our guys competed and did some good things in the second half that we can build off of,” said NKU head coach John Brannen, making his regular season debut. “We played a team that last year lead the country in turnovers forced and offensive rebounds, two areas that have been major concerns for us going into the season. We were unable to simulate their size and athleticism during our preparation.  This is the first early step in a process of building our program here at NKU and I am excited to get back on the court with our young men this weekend.“

After a frenetic first half of play, NKU trailed West Virginia, 62-32. Tyler White paced the Norse with 11 points in the stanza, while Javon Carter had 15 for the Mountaineers.  NKU shot 48 percent in the half, but 19 turnovers led to 27 points for WVU.

Northern Kentucky came out of intermission outscoring West Virginia, 13-10, in the first nine minutes of the stanza. Cole Murray led the charge with an old-fashioned three-point play and then connected on another triple from the corner. WVU used 11 free throws in the next four minutes to extend its lead back out.

White paced the Norse offense with 17 points. Lavone Holland added in 11 and Murray chipped in nine, all in the second half. Drew McDonald came off the bench and converted 3-of-5 from the floor and scored eight points.

Carter scored a game-high 24 points to lead WVU.

The Norse return to BB&T Arena for their regular-season home opener against Tiffin on Tuesday, Nov. 17. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tiffin is an NCAA Division II program that plays in the Great Lakes Valley Conference, the old D-II home of NKU before the Norse moved up to the highest level and the Horizon League.

Norse Notes:

  • White narrowly missed a fourth-straight 19-point performance. He finished last season with three in a row.
  • Billups, last season’s national leader in shooting, converted 3-of-4 attempts on the night en route to seven points
  • Northern Kentucky held West Virginia to just 25 percent shooting from three-point range.
  • NKU is 2-0 all-time against its next opponent, Tiffin.

-Staff report

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