Dream Ends for NKU as Texas Tech Rolls, 72-57
Northern Kentucky needed a lot to go right on Friday afternoon as the Norse returned to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years.
Unfortunately for head coach John Brannen and company, not a lot did.
Though #14-seeded NKU kept the game close in the first half, trailing by just four at the break, #3-seeded Texas Tech shut down the Norse offense and pulled away to a 72-57 victory.
Northern Kentucky's season ended with a record of 26-9, its third-straight season with more than 20 wins and with a trip to the post-season.
The game also marked the end of senior Drew McDonald's career at NKU. His 2,066 points and 1,081 rebounds over the past four seasons place him at the top of the all-time lists in both categories for NKU.
But in his final game, McDonald could not get rolling as he had so many times when it mattered, including a last-second three-point shot that saved the season in the semifinals of the Horizon League tournament. The big man from Newport Central Catholic finished Friday's game with just five points, shooting just two-for-thirteen from the field, and missing all six of his three-point attempts.
In the locker room after the game, McDonald was emotional:
The Norse were led by Tyler Sharpe, who scored 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including a 4-for-7 performance from three-point range.
Dantez Walton scored 11 points and added 7 rebounds in the losing effort for NKU.
Overall, Northern Kentucky shot just 37.1 percent from the field, but outrebounded the heavily favored Red Raiders by a margin of 39-31.
Photo via NKU