The Northern Kentucky University men’s basketball team defeated Northern Illinois on Thursday evening by a final score of 65-62. It was the second win over the Huskies for the Norse this season. NKU finishes the nonconference portion of its schedule at 10-3, which is the best nonconference record for the program in the Division I era. Northern Illinois falls to 6-5 on the year.

STATS LEADERS

  • Drew McDonald notched a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
  • Jalen Tate added 14 points and six rebounds.
  • Tyler Sharpe also had 14 points.
  • Dantez Walton contributed 11 points, four rebounds, five assists and three steals.
  • Freshman Trevon Faulkner made his sixth start of the season. He played 25 minutes, recording five points and a career-high five rebounds and four assists. He also provided a spark on defense and helped ignite the 7-0 run late in the game.

TURNING POINT

  • With NKU leading 62-61, Jalen Tate made a layup with 16 seconds left to extend the lead to three points. Tyler Sharpe added a free throw down the stretch, and Northern Illinois finished 1-for-4 from the free throw line in the final five seconds to help NKU get the victory.

FIRST HALF SUMMARY

  • The Norse took an 11-5 lead at the first media timeout. Walton scored five points in the first 1:50 of the game.
  • With NKU leading 14-7, Northern Illinois went on an 8-0 run to go ahead 15-14 with 9:25 to play. However, Tate hit a layup and a three-pointer on back-to-back possessions to give NKU a 19-15 advantage.
  • Northern Illinois ended the half on an 8-0 run and took a 31-25 lead at the break.
  • The first half featured seven lead changes and two ties.
  • The Huskies shot 14-of-31 (45.2 percent) on field goals, but just 3-of-14 (21.4 percent) on three-pointers.
  • NKU went 10-of-34 (29.4 percent) from the floor in the stanza.
  • Walton led the Norse with eight points, and Tate added seven.

SECOND HALF SUMMARY

  • NKU started the half on a 6-0 run to tie the game at 31-31. McDonald had two layups and Walton added two free throws in the run. The Norse defense was also key to the run, as the team forced four Northern Illinois turnovers in the first 1:20 of the half.
  • The game stayed tight until late in the contest. NKU went on a 7-0 run to go ahead 58-49 with 3:19 to play. However, Northern Illinois battled back to cut the score to 62-61 with 42.6 seconds to play.
  • Tate’s layup with 16 seconds left extended the lead to 64-61. After a made Northern Illinois free throw, Sharpe added a free throw to bring the score to 65-62. The Huskies missed another free throw with two seconds left, and the team was whistled for a lane violation on the second free throw attempt, which helped NKU get the 65-62 victory.
  • Northern Illinois went 12-of-26 (46.2 percent) on field goals in the half.
  • NKU shot 9-of-28 (32.1%) from the floor in the stanza.
  • The Norse forced 11 turnovers in the half.

GAME NOTES

  • McDonald’s double-double was his second consecutive double-double and his sixth of the season. McDonald also had back-to-back double-doubles against Cleveland State and Louisville last season (March 3 and March 13, 2017).
  • NKU had a 19-4 advantage in points off turnovers.
  • The Norse only turned the ball over five times in the game.

NEXT UP

  • NKU opens Horizon League play against IUPUI on Friday, Dec. 28. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at BB&T Arena, and the game will be broadcast live on ESPN+.  

#TakeNotice

Ryan Wilker

Northern Kentucky University

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