Following a win on Friday night to open the season, the Northern Kentucky University men’s basketball team returns to the hardwood Sunday afternoon for a 1 p.m. tilt with Wilmington College.
Northern Kentucky University Norse (1-0 Overall, 0-0 Horizon League)
Wilmington College Fighting Quakers (2016-17: 9-16 Overall, 4-14 OAC)
Sunday, Nov. 10 – 1:00 p.m. (ET)
BB&T Arena (9,400) in Highland Heights, Ky.
TV: ESPN3 with Brady Laber (Play-by-Play) and Brad Redford (Color)
Radio: The Project (100.7/106.3 FM) with Jim Kelch (Play-by-Play) and Steve Moeller (Color)
Fast Break Points
• Prior to the start of Friday’s game with ETSU, Northern Kentucky unveiled its 2017 Horizon League Tournament Champion and NCAA Tournament First Round banners.
• Northern Kentucky’s defense forced 20 turnovers in its season-opening 81-63 win over East Tennessee State on Friday. NKU also held ETSU to just 2-of-18 shooting (11.1 percent) from three.
• NKU was picked to finish second in the Horizon League preseason poll, garnering 10 first place votes.
• The Norse reached the 2017 NCAA Tournament, where they dropped a 79-70 decision as the No. 15 seed to No. 2 seed Kentucky.
• Last year was NKU’s first season eligible for the DI NCAA Tourney. The Norse became just the seventh team all-time and only the second since 1970 to earn a berth in their first year eligible.
• After closing last season ranked No. 21 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top-25 Poll, Northern Kentucky is ranked No. 11 in this year’s preseason poll.
• The 2017-18 season opened with NKU ranked No. 127 in KenPom’s ratings, a stark contrast from one season ago when the Norse opened the year at No. 277. With the win over ETSU, NKU moved up to 116th.
• NKU is one of 16 teams in the country to return at least 70 percent of its production in points (77), rebounds (84) and assists (84).
• Northern Kentucky’s schedule this season is guaranteed to include six games against teams that competed in the postseason (ETSU, Iona/Weber State, UMBC, UIC, Oakland and Green Bay).
• Eight opponents on the schedule were also 20-win teams from a year ago (ETSU, Vermont, Coastal Carolina, Iona, Weber State, UMBC, Oakland, Wright State), although four of those teams are in the Islands of the Bahamas Showcase and NKU cannot play all four.
• Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year and Lou Henson Award Preseason Watch List honoree Drew McDonald opened the season with a 22-point, 10-rebound double-double.
• The junior was an all-league first team, all-academic and all-tourney honoree last year after averaging 16.4 points per game and 7.7 rebounds per game.
• G Lavone Holland II is a preseason All-Horizon League Second Team selection. He used a 10-for-10 showing at the charity stripe en route to 16 points and five assists versus ETSU.
• F Carson Williams shot a blistering 7-of-9 from the field Friday night, scoring 15 points and adding six boards.
• G Mason Faulkner knocked down a trio of threes in a nine-point, five-assist outing.
• F Jeff Garrett chimed in with seven rebounds.
Last Time Out
ETSU took an early 6-4 lead before NKU rattled off eight-straight to grab the lead for good. However, it was Northern Kentucky’s 19-2 run over a 5:54 stretch spanning halftime that put the game firmly in the Norse’s control. McDonald went for 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Holland chimed in with 16 points, behind 10-of-10 shooting at the charity stripe, and five assists. Williams, who shot over 60 percent last season as a freshman, converted 7-of-9 attempts en route to 15 points. Northern Kentucky’s defense was the star of the show. ETSU was hounded into 20 turnovers and connected on just 2-of-18 (11 percent) 3-point attempts. NKU racked up 17 assists and nine steals, while committing 14 turnovers.
The Fightin’ Quakers have yet to play a game in 2017-18 and are coming off of a 9-16 season last year. Senior Christian Jones led the team at 12.5 points per game. Senior Nathan Scott also averaged 10 points, while junior Andrew Russell was just off of double-digits at 9.9.
NKU is 7-1 all-time versus Wilmington. The two teams met last season, but Northern Kentucky’s 102-54 victory does count in the record books, as the game was an exhibition. Five Norse scored in double-figures, led by Dantez Walton with 17 points. McDonald and Garrett added 14 each, while Williams contributed 13 and Blake Spellman 12. Christian Jones scored 22 points as the only Quaker in double-digits.
Assistant Athletic Director
Communications and Media Services
Northern Kentucky University