scored 15 points
Ky. - It’s not unusual to walk into Regents Hall at night
and see Mark Hawkins practicing his shot from 3-point range. That
extra work paid huge dividends for Northern Kentucky University
on Thursday night against Kentucky Wesleyan.
a career-high 15 points and made four 3-pointers as NKU rallied
past Kentucky Wesleyan, 71-63. The sophomore guard from Finneytown
High School drained a trio of 3-pointers in the first half en route
to scoring 12 points to keep the Norse in the game.
very fortunate that Mark knocked down some shots for us because
if he didn’t early, they probably would have sat down in that
zone and I don’t know if we would have been confident enough
to walk in and make them,” NKU head coach Dave Bezold said
after his team defeated Kentucky Wesleyan for the third straight
averages 4.8 points per game, finished 4-for-6 from long range.
He also grabbed six rebounds as NKU improved to 9-3 overall, 4-0
in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.
The Norse also
took sole possession of first place in the GLVC East after previously
unbeaten Saint Joseph’s lost on the road Thursday night at
Southern Illinois at Edwardsville. The play of both Gavin Ludgood
(16 points, 12 rebounds) and Kevin Schappell (16 points, five rebounds)
on Thursday night also helped elevate NKU atop the GLVC East standings.
his teammates for their ability to draw the Kentucky Wesleyan defense
in, giving him the open looks.
people who were penetrating and kicking the ball out. Coach (Kevin)
Listerman told me I needed to get my feet ready and step in when
somebody is penetrating,” he said. “I think that helped
me out a lot. My teammates would collapse the defense and then kick
it to the open man which happened to be me, and I was fortunate
enough to make the shots.”
scored 16 points
Wesleyan took a 40-35 lead with 16:51 left in the game, NKU used
a 10-2 run to gain a 45-42 advantage on a 3-pointer by David McFarland
with 14:20 on the clock. A basket by Tyson Martin at the 9:28 mark
gave Kentucky Wesleyan a 54-51 lead, but Ludgood countered with
a short jumper to bring NKU within 54-53.
On the Norse’s
next possession, Scott Bibbins found Hawkins open on the wing for
a 3-point attempt. Hawkins drained the shot to give NKU a 56-54
advantage, and the Norse led the remainder of the game.
defense also tightened up late in the second half. Kentucky Wesleyan
started the final 20 minutes by hitting seven of its first 10 shots
from the field, including four 3-pointers.
out on the shooters,” Hawkins said of the NKU defense late
in the game. “They had a few shooters on their team that we
were slow to get out to on the perimeter coach told us in the huddle,
‘Hey you’ve got to get out there. Get out there faster
and don’t help so much.’ We got caught helping on the
penetration too much and they would kick it out just as we would
to get the open looks.”
NKU shot just
54.2 percent from the free-throw line, but the Norse made 11 of
their final 13 attempts to ice the victory. NKU also won the rebounding
battle by a 39-26 margin and committed just seven turnovers.
“I was very happy that we didn’t turn the ball over
but seven times. That’s going to be important on Saturday
(against Southern Indiana),” Bezold said. “We didn’t
shoot the free throws very well, but we did get 16 extra possessions
with offensive rebounds.”
that offensive rebounding made a big difference.
“Coach (David) Marshall is yelling and screaming at us everyday
in practice, ‘Crash the offensive boards…get the boards.’
He does that all day,” Schappell said. “If I don’t
crash the offensive boards, I know I’m running. He does that
to everybody and not just me. Coach Marshall is big on everyone
crashing the boards.”
added 12 points and two assists for the Norse, and Vincent Humphrey
scored eight points and grabbed six rebounds. Alvin Lewis led Kentucky
Wesleyan (4-7, 2-3 GLVC) with 17 points and eight assists.
The Norse will
meet Southern Indiana - ranked No. 5 nationally in the NCAA Division
II poll - at 3:15 p.m. Saturday in Regents Hall. Southern Indiana
is 15-1 overall after defeating Bellarmine on Thursday.
Eagles beat NKU three times last season, including a 79-49 win in
the GLVC Tournament championship game.