The young Horizon League season continues for the Northern Kentucky men’s basketball team, which puts its unblemished league record on the line in a road contest at Detroit Mercy on Sunday, Jan. 7. Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m. (ET)
Northern Kentucky University Norse (10-5 Overall, 3-0 Horizon League)
University of Detroit Mercy Titans (4-12 Overall, 0-3 Horizon League)
Sunday, Jan. 7 – 2:00 p.m. (ET)
Calihan Hall (8,295) in Detroit, Mich.
Radio: ESPN1530 (1530 AM) with Jim Kelch (Play-by-Play) and Steve Moeller (Color)
Stats: Live Stats
Fast Break Points
• A huge 46-point second half, combined with timely shooting and clutch conversions at the charity stripe led NKU to its first road victory of the season, defeating Oakland 87-83.
• The Norse are off to their best league start in the Division I era at 3-0 and are tied with Wright State atop the Horizon League standings.
• Dating back to the start of the 2016-17 season, and including the Horizon League Championship, NKU has won 18 of its last 24 games against League opponents.
• The Norse are 3-1 all-time versus Detroit Mercy, winning both matchups last season.
• Northern Kentucky is 7th in the nation in 2-point field goal percent (59.7).
• NKU is averaging 17.7 assists per game, a mark that ranks 23rd in the nation. It also only commits 12.2 turnovers an outing, which ranks 73rd nationally. Combining those two marks results in an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.45, the 21st best in the country.
• NKU forces the 46th-most turnovers per game in the nation (16.1) and allows teams to distribute just 11.0 assists per game.
• NKU’s 3-point field goal defense ranks 7th in the nation at 29.2 percent.
• Through games played Jan. 5, NKU sits 65th 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 receiving votes in the CollegeInsider.Com Mid-Major Top-25 Poll.
• 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 (87-of-131), a mark that ranks 12th in the country. He is averaging 14.5 ppg.
• F Drew McDonald, the Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year leads NKU in scoring (16.5 ppg) and rebounding (8.3 rpg) and has six double-doubles, 36th most in the nation.
• G Lavone Holland II is the consummate point guard – scores when needed (13.5 ppg), sets the table for his teammates (5.2 apg) and takes care of the ball (2.0 turnovers per game). His 2.60 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks 55th in the country.
• F Jeff Garrett and F Jordan Garnett contributed 11 and 10 points, respectively in NKU’s win over Oakland, while F Jalen Tate added two timely baskets in the final three minutes en route to seven points.
Last Time Out
Leading by one, 75-74, with 2:45 remaining, Tate knocked down consecutive baskets in the lane to extend the Norse lead to five. Then, with 36 seconds remaining, Holland’s long jumper found the bottom of the net to push the Norse advantage back to five. Mason Faulkner, McDonald and Garnett each converted both ends of 1-and-1 free throws to seal an 87-83 road win over preseason favorite Oakland.
The Norse shot 52.5 percent (32-of-61) for the game, including a blistering 63 percent (17-fo-27) in the second half. The Golden Grizzlies made 52.8 percent for the game, but just 48 percent in the second half. Northern Kentucky held a decisive 38-25 advantage in rebounding, which led to a 19-4 margin in second chance points for the Norse.
Williams paced NKU with 21 points and nine rebounds. Holland contributed 19 points and three assists. Garrett and Garnett added 11 and 10, respectively. Ten Norse played in the game and all 10 scored.
Scouting Detroit Mercy
Detroit Mercy enters the game at 4-12 overall and 0-3 in league play. The Titans are on a 10-game skid and haven’t tasted victory since Nov. 25. Kameron Chatman paces five UDM players averaging double figures at 18 points per game. While the Titans lead the league in scoring at 83.3 points per game, they surrender a league worst 89.4 points.
Northern Kentucky is 3-1 all-time against Detroit Mercy, including a perfect 2-0 at Calihan Hall where the Norse have averaged 86 points in their two contests. NKU won both meetings last year, while Detroit Mercy’s only win in the series came in NKU’s final home game of the 2015-16 slate.
Assistant Athletic Director
Communications and Media Services
Northern Kentucky University