Final road trip of the regular-season awaits NKU MBB

Northern Kentucky men’s basketball takes to the highway for its final road trip of the season, which starts with a matchup against Cleveland State in Cleveland, Ohio, on Thursday, Feb. 16. Tip-off is set for 7:45 as the game is part of a doubleheader with the Vikings’ women’s team.

Game Information
Northern Kentucky University Norse (17-9 Overall, 8-5 Horizon League)
Cleveland State University Vikings (8-18 Overall, 4-10 Horizon League)
Thursday, Feb. 16 – 7:45 p.m. (ET)
Wolstein Center (13,610) in Cleveland, Ohio
TV: Spectrum Sports/ESPN3 with Al Pawlowski (play-by-play) and Pat Vuyancih (analysis)
Radio: FOXSports1360 (1360 AM) with Jim Kelch (play-by-play) and Steve Moeller (analysis)

Fast Break Points
• NKU guaranteed itself of a winning record with its 17th win of the year, toppling Milwaukee, 69-63, in Saturday night’s Homecoming game.
• NKU trailed, 54-41, with 8:30 left in the game, coming from behind by double-digits at home against Milwaukee for the second-straight year. The Norse trailed by 11 points with 11 minutes left last year.
• The Norse have won five of their last six contests, which includes a 2-1 mark on the road.
• NKU sits at 17-9 on the season, and has established a new Division I-era record for wins, topping the 13 recorded in the 2014-15 season as a member of the Atlantic Sun.
• NKU’s 17 wins is eight more than it had last year, a turnaround that is tied for the third best in the nation based on victories alone. According to the NCAA, which also considers losses, NKU is tied-fourth at plus-10.
• The Norse close the season with a stretch of five games in 11 days.
• NKU heads to Cleveland State on Thursday for the second meeting of the year between the two Scandinavian mascots. The Norse defeated the Vikings in the opening contest, 83-75.
• The 70-point plateau is key for NKU this year. Northern Kentucky is 15-3 when scoring at least 70 points and 12-2 when holding opponents to 70 or fewer points.
• NKU was picked to finish 7th in the Horizon League in the preseason poll, and with five games left the team sits tied fourth at 8-5 with Wright State, but the Norse hold the tie-break over the Raiders and are one game out of second.
• G Lavone Holland II scored 19 of his game-high 21 points versus Milwaukee in the second half. Holland is second on the team in scoring at 14.0 ppg, but boasts a team-best 101 assists and 33 steals.
• F Drew McDonald leads NKU in scoring (16.0 ppg) and rebounds (7.4 rpg). He has now reached double figures in 13-straight games, all of which are Horizon League contests.
• F Cole Murray is third on the team in scoring at 10.4 ppg. He ranks No. 22 nationally with 81 made threes this year and No. 27 in 3-point shooting percent, converting 42 percent. The senior has made a triple in 25-of-26 games this year.
• F Carson Williams, a two-time Horizon League Freshman of the Week honoree, is fourth on the team in scoring at 10.3 ppg and second in rebounding (5.9 rpg).
• G Dantez Walton has provided a huge lift for the Norse off the bench in the last five games, averaging 8.6 ppg.
• G Mason Faulkner has scored in double figures five times on the year and the Norse are 4-1 in those games (lone loss is at Oakland). He is averaging 7.5 ppg on the season, but in League games his scoring average elevates to 11.5 ppg.

Scouting Cleveland State
Cleveland State is 4-10 in the Horizon League and tied for last with both Youngstown State and Milwaukee. However, the Vikings are coming off of a 66-63 win over UIC last weekend. Preseason all-Horizon League second team honoree Rob Edwards paces the Vikings on the offensive end, scoring 15.8 ppg. Damonte Flanigan is second in scoring at 11.2, but averages a team-best 5.6 rpg.

All-Time Series
Northern Kentucky is 1-2 against Cleveland State and holds an 83-75 victory over the Vikings in the first meeting this season. McDonald exploded for a career-high 37 points behind 11-of-15 shooting from the floor and 10-of-11 from the charity stripe. He added 10 rebounds to complete the double-double. In three career-games against CSU, McDonald is averaging 21.0 ppg and 8.3 rpg. Faulkner chipped in 16 points in the win this year as well.

Last Time Out
Trailing by 13 with eight and a half minutes to play, Northern Kentucky closed the game on a 28-9 run, which included 18-straight over a 5:20 span, en route to the 69-63 win. It marks the first time in just over a year in which the Norse overcame a double-digit, second-half deficit. NKU last accomplished the feat on Feb. 5, 2016, when it came from 11 down with 10:59 remaining to topple Milwaukee in last year’s homecoming game. Holland led the second-half charge for Northern Kentucky, pouring in 19 of his game-high 21 points in the second half. McDonald notched 13 points and Walton chipped in 11. NKU rode its defensive intensity to the victory, forcing 17 Panther turnovers – eight of which came via steals – that NKU turned into 32 points.

Join the Uprising!

Bryan McEldowney
Assistant Athletic Director
Communications and Media Services
Northern Kentucky University

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