Sporting perfect 4-0 records in Horizon League action, Northern Kentucky hosts Wright State at BB&T Arena Thursday, Jan. 11, in a game that will give the winner sole possession of first place in the league standings.
The game is the first of two $1 beverage nights at Norse men’s basketball games this year.
Northern Kentucky University Norse (11-5 Overall, 4-0 Horizon League)
Wright State University Raiders (12-5 Overall, 4-0 Horizon League)
Thursday, Jan. 11 – 7:00 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: ESPN1530 (1530 AM) with Jim Kelch (Play-by-Play) and Steve Moeller (Color)
Stats: Live Stats
Fast Break Points
• NKU remained unbeaten in four Horizon League games as Lavone Holland II hit the game-winning shot with 3.3 seconds remaining to lift the Norse past Detroit Mercy, 56-54.
• The Norse are off to their best league start in the Division I era at 4-0 and are tied with Wright State atop the #HLMBB standings.
• Dating back to the start of the 2016-17 season, and including the #HLMBB Championship, NKU has won 19 of its last 25 games (.760) against League opponents.
• The Norse are 10-21 all-time versus Wright State, but won all three matchups last season.
• Northern Kentucky is 17th in the nation in 2-point field goal percent (58.4).
• NKU is averaging 17.1 assists per game, a mark that ranks 32nd in the nation. It also only commits 12.1 turnovers an outing, which ranks 65th nationally. Combining those two marks results in an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.42, the 24th best in the country.
• NKU forces the 42nd-most turnovers per game in the nation (16.1) and allows teams to distribute just 10.9 assists per game.
• NKU’s 3-point field goal defense ranks 5th in the nation at 28.3 percent.
• Through games played Jan. 9, NKU sits 68th on KenPom.com, which is tops in the Horizon League. In a recent column on TheAthletic.com, Ken Pomeroy marked NKU’s odds at 72 percent to win the Horizon League. Oakland was second with a 35 percent chance.
• The Norse are 24th in the CollegeInsider.Com Mid-Major Top-25 Poll and receiving votes in the Mid-Major Madness Power Rankings.
• 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).
• F Carson Williams is converting 66.4 percent of his field-goal attempts (91-of-137), a mark that ranks 9th in the country. He is averaging 14.4 ppg.
• F Drew McDonald, the Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year, leads NKU in scoring (16.4 ppg) and rebounding (8.4 rpg) and has six double-doubles, 45th most in the nation.
• Holland is the consummate point guard – scores when needed (13.2 ppg), sets the table for his teammates (5.0 apg) and takes care of the ball (1.9 turnovers per game). His 2.67 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks 48th in the country.
• F Jalen Tate only scored four points against Detroit Mercy, but blocked a career-high-tying three shots and picked up three steals. F Jordan Garnett matched his career mark for rebounds with eight.
Last Time Out
Holland pulled up and drained a 17-footer with 3.3 seconds on the clock to lift Northern Kentucky past Detroit Mercy, 56-54, in a road Horizon League battle that kept NKU perfect in league play. Scoring was at a premium for the two teams, as both NKU (33.3) and Detroit Mercy (33.9) posted low shooting percentages in the game.
McDonald notched a game-high 16 points and added nine rebounds, narrowly missing a double-double for the second-straight game. Williams added 12 points and five boards, while Holland chipped in nine points and five rebounds. Garnett matched his career-high with eight rebounds and Tate contributed three blocks and three steals.
Scouting Wright State
After starting the season 0-3, Wright State has gone on to win 12 of its last 14 games, which includes road wins at Georgia Tech and Oakland. The Raiders are among the nation’s best in adjusted defensive efficiency (95.8 points per 100 opponent possessions), checking in at No. 42. But, on the offensive side they are one of the worst teams in adjusted efficiency (297th) at 96.5. Grant Benzinger leads the offensive output at 14.6 points per game, while Justin Mitchell (11.1) and Loudon Love (10.5) also score at a double-figure clip.
The Raiders hold a 21-10 advantage in the all-time series. WSU swept both meetings during NKU’s inaugural season in the Horizon League, 2015-16, but Northern Kentucky returned the favor in last year’s slate with a 3-0 mark against Wright State. McDonald averaged 15.3 points and 6.3 rebounds in the three games last year, while Holland and Williams contributed 13.7 and 13.0, respectively.
Assistant Athletic Director
Communications and Media Services
Northern Kentucky University