Billups Scores 1000th Point for NKU as Norse Fall to Wright State
Northern Kentucky could not overcome Wright State on Saturday afternoon as the Norse fell 60-46, in the first-ever Horizon League contest at BB&T Arena.
With the loss, NKU drops to 4-10 overall and 0-3 in the Horizon League. Wright State improves to 8-8 overall and 2-1 in league action.
Jalen Billups came just shy of a double-double, posting nine points and nine rebounds. The senior forward recorded his 1,000th career point, which came on a dunk in the game's opening minutes.
Tyler White, Lavone Holland II and Cole Murray each had eight points apiece. Murray issued a perfect 3-for-3 performance from the field including a pair of triples. WSU was led by Mark Alstork with 18 points and six boards.
A layup from Billups on the game's first possession got the scoring started as NKU led for all but 39 seconds of the opening period. A 9-2 Norse run capped off by a Dean Danos triple put NKU up by seven at 11-4. The Raiders then caught up to remain within five points of the Norse before taking a brief 24-23 lead at the 1:46 mark. NKU used a pair of triples from White and Deontae Cole to fight off the Raiders and put NKU back on top.
The Norse held a 28-27 advantage at the intermission after shooting 63.2 percent (12-of-19) in the first half.
Northern Kentucky struggled to connect upon returning to the floor, with Wright State claiming a 44-32 advantage at the midway point of the period. Three straight free throws cut the deficit to single digits with 3:59 on the clock, but the Raiders continued to pull away as the Norse were unable to work around the Wright State defense.
The Norse continue their home stand on Thursday when they host Youngstown State at 7 p.m.
- After struggling with 11 miscues in the first half, NKU improved to post just a pair of turnovers throughout the second period. In addition to becoming the 24th Norse to reach the the 1,000 point plateau, Billups also recently eclipsed 500 career rebounds. The redshirt senior is the 10th player in NKU history to have reached both marks.
- White's eight points on the day pushes his career total to 902.
Women fall at Wright State
The NKU women's team put on a strong second half performance, but in the end dropped a 66-61 decision to Wright State in Horizon League play on Saturday afternoon.
Christine Roush led NKU's scoring effort with 16 points, including 13 in the second half, while Shar'Rae Davis added 11 points. Kasey Uetrecht set a new career high with 14 rebounds to go with 8 points.
The Norse continued their ball-control defense, forcing 15 turnovers and converting them into 17 points. Kim Demmings paced the Wright State scoring effort with 22 points, while Richelle van der Keijl scored 16 points and added 14 rebounds. After shooting 45 percent in the first half, the Raiders were held to just 24.2 percent from the field in the second half. Wright State (13-3, 3-0 Horizon) raced out to a 12-0 lead in the first six minutes of the contest and claimed a 24-8 lead after 10 minutes.
After Glick broke the ice for the Norse with a trey, the Raiders used an uptempo offense to push an 8-2 run. The Norse (9-5, 1-2 Horizon) found their shooting touch in the second quarter, closing out the period on a 10-2 run to cut the Raider lead to 17 points at the half, 44-27. Uetrecht, Franson and Roush knocked down consecutive buckets to spur the rally.
Momentum continued to roll NKU's way out of the locker room, as the Norse pushed another 10-2 run to open the third quarter, keyed by a pair of buckets from Davis, cutting the lead to single digits at 46-37 with 5:30 to go. The Norse kept pace through the remainder of the quarter, with Davis closing the scoring with another trey to make it a 54-45 game entering the fourth.
The Norse caught fire in the final quarter, holding the Raiders without a basket for the first four minutes to cut the lead to three at 54-51. Demmings and Roush traded threes before a Molly Glick jumper cut the lead to one at 57-56.
NKU could not find the go-ahead basket, however, and Wright State scored the final five points to make the final margin.
NKU returns to the road next week for a pair of Horizon League contests, beginning on Thursday as the Norse take on Oakland. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. from the Athletics Center 'O'rena in Rochester, Michigan.
- Christine Roush scored in double figures for the 13th time this season. She is averaging 16.1 points per game to lead the Norse.
- NKU outscored Wright State 28-21 in the second half and held Wright State to just 28.6 shooting (4-for-14) from the floor in the fourth quarter.
- The Norse forced 15 or more turnovers for the seventh consecutive game and 13th time overall.
- Uetrecht reached double figures in rebounds for the second time in four games and is now averaging 5.7 boards per game.
Photo: Jalen Billups (via NKU)