Rematch with Green Bay looms for NKU MBB

A Thursday night tilt with Green Bay is on the docket for the Northern Kentucky University men’s basketball team, which looks to avenge an early January loss to the Phoenix. The game is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start at BB&T Arena. It is the second part of a doubleheader with the women’s basketball team, which squares away with UIC at 5 p.m.

NKU is holding $1 Beverage Night for the men’s game, which includes domestic beer and bottled water.

Game Information
Northern Kentucky University Norse (15-9 Overall, 6-5 Horizon League)
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Phoenix (15-9 Overall, 9-3 Horizon League)
Thursday, Feb. 9 – 7:30 p.m. (ET)
BB&T Arena (9,400) in Highland Heights, Ky.
TV: Spectrum Sports/ESPN3 with Neil Sika (play-by-play) and Dave Cecutti (analysis)
Radio: FOXSports1360 (1360 AM) with Jim Kelch (play-by-play) and Steve Moeller (analysis)

Fast Break Points
• NKU picked up its 15th victory of the year with an 83-79 road win over Horizon League rival Wright State last Saturday.
• NKU sits at 15-9 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 hosts Green Bay Thursday evening as part of a doubleheader with the Norse and UIC women’s teams playing beforehand. Green Bay leads the all-time series 3-0 after winning both games last year and taking the first meeting this season in Wisconsin, 80-71.
• The 70-point plateau is key for NKU this year. Northern Kentucky is 15-3 when scoring at least 70 points and 10-2 when holding opponents to 70 or fewer points.
• Norse players have combined to post 20 efforts of at least 20 points. The team is 12-3 in games where a player reaches at least 20 points in the scoring column.
• F Drew McDonald went 4-for-4 at the charity stripe in the last 15 seconds to seal NKU’s win at Wright State. He leads NKU in scoring (16.4 ppg) and rebounds (7.8 rpg). In Horizon League play, his averages swell to 16.9 points and 8.0 rebounds per game, which rank fifth and fourth in the League, respectively.
• F Carson Williams, a two-time Horizon League Freshman of the Week honoree, is third on the team in scoring at 10.7 ppg and second in rebounding (6.0 rpg).
• G Lavone Holland II is second in scoring at 14.0 ppg, but leads the team in assists with 3.9 apg.
• F Cole Murray ranks among the nation’s top 3-point shooters, checking in at No. 25 with 74 made threes this year. He is also 34th in 3-point field-goal percentage (41.6).
• 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 7.7 ppg on the season, but in League games his scoring average elevates to 12.7 ppg.
• G Dantez Walton has provided a huge lift for the Norse off the bench in the last three games, averaging 10.0 ppg. He has reached double-digits twice in that span, scoring 10 first-half points at UIC and 12 second-half points at Wright State.
• F Jordan Garnett knocked down a shot-clock-beating three with about 30 seconds left in the game to help NKU defeat Wright State on the road.

Scouting Green Bay
Green Bay sports an identical 15-9 record to Northern Kentucky, but the Phoenix are 9-3 in the League standings and sit two spots ahead in second. A quartet of players average double-figures for Green Bay, led by Charles Cooper’s 13.3 points per game. Khalil Small, Kerem Kanter and Warren Jones contribute 10.6, 10.5 and 10.4 ppg, respectively, to a team that averages 80.8 ppg. In its 12 Horizon League games, the Phoenix sport the best scoring offense at 81.2 ppg, but have the eighth-best defense surrendering 76.4 ppg.

All-Time Series
NKU is 0-3 all-time against Green Bay, which included an 80-71 setback in Wisconsin earlier this season. In that game, NKU led 42-32 at half, but Green Bay’s full-court pressure caught up in the second half as Northern Kentucky was playing its third game in five days, while the Phoenix were only playing for the second time in a 10-day span. McDonald has averaged 15.7 points and 10 rebounds per game, which includes two double-doubles, in the three games versus Green Bay. Holland has averaged 13.3 ppg, while Murray has posted 9.7 ppg.

Last Time Out
Northern Kentucky earned a hard-fought 83-79 road win at Wright State. Williams helped keep Northern Kentucky in the game during the first half, scoring 10 of his 14 points in the stanza, as NKU trailed, 39-35, at intermission. Walton provided a second-half spark, scoring all 12 of his points after halftime. Murray hit back-to-back three’s to give NKU its first lead of the second frame with just under nine minutes left. After Wright State regained the lead, Walton tallied five-straight points to put the Norse ahead for good. Although NKU was able to push its lead to seven at one point, WSU kept close and made one last push in the final minute. After the Raiders closed within two, Garnett connected on a shot-clock-beating three with 30 seconds left and McDonald went 4-for-4 from the charity stripe in the final 15 seconds. The Norse outscored the Raiders 48-40 in the second half thanks to 57 percent (16-of-28) shooting. While Williams and Walton provided sparks in each half, McDonald was consistent in both halves and paced NKU with 20 points and seven boards. Murray finished with 14 points, 11 coming after intermission.

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

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