The Northern Kentucky men’s basketball team fell to Louisville on Tuesday evening in the First Round of the NIT by a final score of 66-58. The Norse conclude the season at 22-10, while the Cardinals move to 21-13.
Drew McDonald notched his 18th double-double of the season and 16th in the past 22 games. He finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds.
Lavone Holland II added 15 points, five rebounds and two assists.
Jordan Garnett had seven points and six rebounds.
Dantez Walton finished with six points and nine rebounds.
Louisville went on a 13-0 run, beginning with 47-seconds left in the third quarter to take a 54-44 lead with 6:28 to play in the game. Northern Kentucky was able to cut the deficit to five with 2:24 remaining in the game, but UofL scored the next five points to put the game out of reach.
FIRST QUARTER SUMMARY
The first quarter was a back-and-forth affair. Louisville built a five-point lead early in the game, but the Norse battled back.
NKU took its first lead at 12-11 with 2:10 to play in the quarter on Carson Williams’ layup.
The Norse went 6-of-17 (35.3%) on field goals in the quarter and 1-of-8 (12.5%) from behind the arc.
Louisville was also 6-of-17 (35.3%) on field goals in the stanza, and 2-of-5 (40.0%) from the three-point line.
SECOND QUARTER SUMMARY
The Norse scored the first five points of the second quarter to take a 20-16 lead with 8:13 to play in the half. McDonald had a three-pointer and Jalen Tate converted a layup to put the Norse ahead.
Holland scored the first four points in a 6-0 Norse run to close the half and take a 30-23 lead into halftime.
The Norse went 4-of-15 (26.7%) from the floor and 2-of-7 (28.6%) from beyond the arc.
Louisville shot just 2-of-15 (13.3%) on field goals and went 0-of-4 on three-point attempts.
NKU had a 14-8 rebound advantage in the quarter and outrebounded Louisville 25-23 in the half.
McDonald had 10 points in the half and Holland added nine.
THIRD QUARTER SUMMARY
Louisville chipped away at NKU’s lead and tied the game at 36-36 with 3:39 to play in the quarter.
The Cardinals took a 45-44 lead into the fourth quarter.
NKU shot 6-of-14 (42.9%) in the quarter and 0-of-2 from the three-point line.
Louisville went 9-of-13 (69.2%) from the floor and 2-for-4 (50.0%) from beyond the arc.
FOURTH QUARTER SUMMARY
The Cardinals scored the first nine points of the quarter to take a 54-44 lead with 6:28 to play in the game.
Holland hit three-pointers on consecutive offensive possessions for NKU, and McDonald added a layup to get the Norse to within six points at 57-51 with 4:15 to play.
Louisville got its lead back to 10 points later in the quarter before NKU cut the lead to five, but the Cardinals went on to win by a final score of 66-58.
NKU shot 6-of-18 (33.3%) from the floor and 2-of-11 (18.2%) from the three-point line.
The Cardinals went 5-of-10 (50.0%) on field goals and 2-of-5 (40.0%) on attempts from behind the arc.
The NIT is experimenting with different rules, which includes four 10-minute quarters, a three-point arc that matches international play, a wider lane on free throw attempts and the shot clock resetting to 20 seconds on an offensive rebound.
NKU finished with a 34-26 advantage in points in the paint. The Norse also outrebounded Louisville 42-38.
The Norse shot 22-of-64 (34.4%) in the game and 5-of-28 (17.9%) from the three-point line.
Louisville went 22-of-55 (40.0 %) from the floor and 6-of-18 (33.3%) on attempts from beyond the arc.
NKU also had a 9-4 advantage in second chance points.
This is the second-straight season that NKU has won 20 or more games.
The Norse also qualified for the NCAA Tournament and NIT in back-to-back seasons.
NKU went 15-3 in Horizon League play this year to claim the 2018 Horizon League Regular Season Championship.
Northern Kentucky University
Athletic Communications Graduate Assistant