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Norse: Men Drop Winless SE Mo. St., Women Fall at Buzzer

Northern Kentucky was led by Jalen Billups' double­-double as the Norse cruised to a 79-­69 victory over Southeast Missouri State at BB&T on Saturday night. Billups posted his second double-­double in four games with 11 boards to go with his 17 total points.

Eight of his rebounds came on the defensive glass while he issued a 6­ of ­8 performance from the field and 5­ of ­8 showing from the charity stripe. Billups was joined in double ­figures by Cole Murray with 12 points and Lavone Holland II and Dean Danos with 10.

Tyler White dished out seven assists for the third time in the last four games as the Norse (3-­6) ended the night with a season­high 20 total assists on 28 field goals.

SEMO (0­-10) found the net first but White used a triple to trigger an 8-0 run in the early going to spark the Norse offense. Another run, consisting of nine ­straight points, helped push the NKU lead to 23­-12 at the midway point of the opening half. The Norse defense forced seven turnovers in the first ten minutes of play, which they converted into nine early points.

Northern Kentucky's advantage continued to climb with the Norse working their way up to a 14-­point lead on a Billups dunk at the 7:10 mark. The Redhawks would briefly cut their deficit to 36­-30 with two minutes left in the period. NKU went on to lead 39-­30 at the intermission after shooting 53.8 percent (14 ­of ­26) from the field including 46.2 percent (6­ of ­13) from three in the first half.

Upon returning to the floor, Holland quickly restored NKU's double-­digit advantage.

The teams traded buckets with NKU hovering around its 10­-point lead until the Norse took off on a 13-­3 run over a span of over five minutes to lead 64­-46 with 8:52 on the clock.

Northern Kentucky returns to the court on Wednesday when it plays host to IU Kokomo in one of two remaining nonconference match­ups. Tip­off is set for 7 p.m. at BB&T Arena.

NORSE NOTES:

  • NKU outrebounded its opponent for the third time in the last four games after posting 34 boards to the Redhawks' 29.
  • Drew McDonald came one point and two rebounds shy of a double­double.

Women fall to Akron at buzzer

Despite a career-­high 23 points from Rebecca Lyttle and five players in double figures, the NKU women fell to Akron, 77­-75, on a buzzer­beater in overtime at BB&T Arena on Saturday.

Lyttle came one rebound shy of a double-­double and shattered her previous career high of 18 points after going 11­ of ­14 from the charity stripe and 6­ of ­10 from the floor. She netted five free throws in the overtime period and was responsible for five of NKU's nine total points in OT. Kasey Uetrecht followed with a double-­double on 15 points and 12 rebounds including nine on the defensive glass.

Christine Roush (12), Shar'Rae Davis (11) and Rianna Gayheart (10) rounded out NKU's top scorers while Akron's Anita Brown led all players with 32 points and the game­winning bucket.

The loss snapped a three­-game winning streak for the Norse, who close their nonconference schedule with an 8­-3 record. Akron improved to 5-­5 on the year.

After hovering around a 10-­point lead for the majority of the second half, NKU held a 64­-53 advantage with three ­and ­a ­half minutes left in regulation. Akron's Brown would score eight­ straight points to come within four of NKU at 64­-60. The Zips tied the game on back-to-­back triples from Hannah Plybon with four seconds to go to force overtime.

A pair of free­throws from Lyttle put NKU up by three at the 2:57 mark of overtime, the largest lead of the period. However, Brown tied it up at 75­-75 with 44 seconds to play before sinking the game­-winner at the buzzer.

In the opening quarter, NKU scored eight­ straight while the defense held the Zips to a single field goal across the final four and a half minutes of the frame to lead 17-­12. Akron quickly tied it back up at 17­-17 within the first minute of second quarter action. The Zips and Norse battled from the perimeter, with NKU sinking five treys including a pair from Gayheart as the Norse outscored Akron 11-­1 through the final two and a half minutes of the first half for a 41-­33 halftime lead.

NKU returned to the court and used a Roush triple to get out to an 11­-point edge to give the Norse enough of a lead to withstand six­ straight points from Akron. A Uetrecht three­-point play and layup from Lyttle restored the 10­-point advantage that lasted until the final minutes.

The Norse return to action on Dec. 30 for their first­-ever Horizon League game. NKU will tip off against Valparaiso at 7 p.m. at BB&T Arena.

NORSE NOTES:

  • NKU placed five or more players in double figures for the second­ straight game. It also marked the fourth­ straight game with at least three players scoring 10 or more points.
  • The game saw 10 total ties and 12 lead changes. NKU went 21 ­for ­24 from the free­throw line for an 87.5 percent efficiency.

-Staff report

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