Lavone Holland’s hot hand in the second half helped Northern Kentucky to an 80-70 victory over Eastern Illinois on Wednesday evening. The victory pushes NKU’s overall record to 6-3, while EIU dips to 5-4.
· Holland scored 18 points in the second half to lead the Norse with a career-high 28 points in the game. He went 6-for-10 from behind the three-point arc, marking the third time on the year that he shot 60% from three.
· Carson Williams led the team in rebounding with nine. He went 4-for-6 from the field and shot 100% (2-of-2) from the free throw line to give him 10 points for the game.
· Jeff Garrett contributed eight points and eight rebounds..
· Drew McDonald poured in 17 points, shooting 87.5% (7-for-8) from the foul line.
· Shorlty after Eastern Illinois took a one-point lead on Detrius McReynold’s layup, Carson Williams grabbed a defensive rebound and went coast-to-coast to give the Norse a 64-63 lead, sparking a 13-2 Norse run over a five-and-a-half-minute span.
FIRST HALF SUMMARY
· The Panthers lead 14-8 at the first media timeout but the Norse battled back to tie the game at 16 on a Holland trey.
· A three-point basket by Cole Murray saw the Norse take an 8 point advantage with just over six minutes left.
· Drew McDonald made two free throws at the end of the half to give the Norse a two-point advantage heading into the locker room.
· McDonald, Holland and Murray each tallied eight points in the opening stanza, as NKU shot 59 percent (16-of-27) from the field.
· Eastern Illinois converted 54 percent (13-of-24) behind Cornell Johnston’s 3-for-4 shooting half and 11 points.
SECOND HALF SUMMARY
· The Norse took a 48-41 lead within the first three minutes of the half after a three-point basket by Holland.
· After McReynold’s basket with 7:25 remaining, Williams’ defensive rebound and subsequent coast-to-coast basket to regain the lead for the Norse with just over six minutes left proved to be the spark. It was all the Norse needed in the win.
· NKU held EIU to just one field-goal over the next seven minutes. Meanwhile, Holland knocked down two huge threes, while scoring 12 of Northern Kentucky’s final 14 points.
· Northern Kentucky’s defense stiffened in the second half, holding Eastern Illinois to a mere 38 percent (13-of-34) from the floor. NKU converted 41 percent (12-of-29) of its shots.
· After dropping the rebounding battle in the opening half, 15-11, the Norse flipped the script and dominated the glass in the second half, 26-15.
· Northern Kentucky outrebounded the Panthers, 37-30. NKU has now won the rebounding battle in all but one game this season.
· Tonight’s game marked the fourth time in the last five games that Holland scored at least 20 points. He is now averaging 16 points per game and is shooting 43.5 percent from three after his 6-for-10 showing against EIU.
· Williams scored in double figures (10 points) for the sixth time in nine games on the season.
· McDonald’s 17-point showing marks the eighth double-figure scoring output this season and seventh in a row.
· NKU is three-games over .500 since the 2011-12 season, its last as a DII program.
· Northern Kentucky travels to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, for a weekend matchup with Southeast Missouri State on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 3 p.m. (ET)/ 2 p.m. (CT).
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Assistant Athletic Director
Communications and Media Services
Northern Kentucky University