(42) scored 15 points
Ky. - At halftime Thursday night, Northern Kentucky University found
itself trailing Rockhurst by five points in the Great Lakes Valley
Conference opener in Regents Hall.
NKU head coach
Dave Bezold knew what his team needed to do in the second half if
the Norse were to remain unbeaten.
“We talked about
how we needed to have a solid performance - actually, a great performance
- defensively, and hold (Rockhurst) under 40 percent (from the field),”
Bezold said, “and we did that.”
NKU allowed Rockhurst
to shoot just 33.3 percent from the field and opened the second
half with a 12-0 run that keyed the Norse’s 58-55 victory.
NKU improved to 4-0 overall, 1-0 in the GLVC.
Kevin Schappell and
Kevin Reinhardt each scored five points during the decisive 12-0
run for NKU. After Gavin Ludgood opened the second half with a dunk,
Reinhardt drained a 3-pointer and added a layup to give NKU a 29-27
Schappell made a 3-pointer
and capped the spurt with a layup to extend the Norse advantage
Schappell finished with
16 points, and Reinhardt added 15 points and seven rebounds. Ludgood
finished with 12 points and five rebounds for the Norse, who shot
57.1 percent from the field in the second half to rally for the
everything,” Bezold said. “It’s been consistently
Reinhardt and Schappell, and to get another person up in double
figures gives yourself a chance to win, especially when it was a
low possession game.”
Rockhurst tied the game
at 41-all with 8:14 left on a jumper by Mike Day, but Ludgood responded
with two consecutive dunks to give NKU a 45-41 lead. Ludgood’s
second dunk came off a perfect pass from Billy Finnell to finish
a fast break.
hits a 3-pointer Thursday
The 6-foot-8 senior
center also had two blocked shots against Rockhurst.
“He can bring
a lot of things to the floor for us,” Bezold said. “Our
guys who went out and scouted Rockhurst felt like Gavin could be
the difference in the game. He had a heck of a second half. His
energy turned up and he played much better.”
Finnell hit a 3-pointer
with 2:18 remaining to give NKU a 48-44 lead, and he extended that
advantage to 50-44 with a layup at the 1:27 mark. Reinhardt sealed
the win by making two free throws with five seconds left to give
NKU a 58-52 lead.
Aaron Hill hit a 3-pointer
with less than a second remaining to bring Rockhurst within 58-55,
but NKU inbounded the ball and time expired.
Ludgood agreed that
defense bailed out the Norse in the second half.
“We just thought
we needed to play defense harder, and that is something we didn’t
do in the first half,” he said. “We just switched up
our defensive scheme and wanted to play more of a defensive game.”
Kevin Martin scored
a game-high 21 points to lead Rockhurst, but NKU held him to just
seven points in the second half.
“In the second
half, we did a much better job on him,” Bezold said of Martin.
“The thing is, there is going to be someone on the other team
who scores a lot. We are very fortunate that their point guard,
who I think is a heck of a player, (Joey) Deas, didn’t score.
There’s the trade-off, so we were happy.”
NKU will play host to
Drury at 3:15 p.m. Saturday.