(right) drives to the basket
Ky. - Billy Finnell did not start either game during this weekend’s
John L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic, but the Northern Kentucky University
freshman turned out to be one of the most important players in the
In fact, Finnell
was named NKU’s most outstanding player Saturday night after
leading the Norse to a 74-66 win over Saginaw Valley State in Regents
Hall. The Purcell Marian graduate came off the bench and dished
out a career-best eight assists, scored nine points and added three
That came one
day after Finnell scored 13 points and had five assists in an 81-71
upset of sixth-ranked Findlay. Finnell, however, praised his teammates
for their efforts during the weekend as NKU started the season 2-0.
“This was another
team effort. Everyone stepped up, and it was different people from
last night,” Finnell said. “Last night, Kevin Reinhardt
didn’t have his best game, and tonight he stepped up and was
our leading scorer. Kevin Schappell was right there again, working
came through when Aaron (Smith) got hurt. Gavin (Ludgood) made some
key plays at the end of the game. It was just a team effort, and
everybody stepped up and played hard.”
The NKU bench poured in 40 points and added nine assists to spark
Reinhardt scored 12 of his 21 points in the first half as NKU built
a 39-27 lead at the break. The Norse shot 60.9 percent from the
field during the first half.
“Last night, it was Vincent Humphrey who led us in scoring,
and tonight Kevin Reinhardt,” NKU head coach Dave Bezold said.
“He is capable of doing that, and to his credit he stayed
with the system we were running. We called some plays for him when
we thought he had the opportunity to make some plays, and to his
credit, he made the plays.”
led NKU with 21 points
A 3-pointer by Finnell to begin the second half extended NKU’s
advantage to 42-27, and the Norse still maintained a 14-point cushion
(54-40) with 10 minutes left in the game when Harrison Morton soared
past the Cardinal defense for a layup.
Saginaw Valley State, however, hit NKU with a 19-9 run to get within
63-59 on Donald Yates’ dunk with 3:12 remaining. Ludgood responded
by hitting a jumper off an assist from Finnell to push NKU’s
lead to 65-59, and the Norse made nine free throws in the final
minute to ice the win.
“You have to be able to go up to the line and make the free
throws,” Bezold said after his team made 80 percent of its
Schappell added 11 points off the bench for NKU and was named the
recipient of the John L. Griffin Hustle Award for his play during
the two-day event. Hawkins added nine points and drained a key 3-pointer
in the second half that gave the Norse a 63-52 lead.
Hawkins, a Finneytown High School graduate and a sophomore guard,
said the key to NKU’s success was stopping the opposition.
“Defense was the main thing that got us through the game,”
he said. “Like coach says, a 10-point lead is the hardest
thing to keep in a game. Defensively, we got stops. We caused a
couple of five-second violations and shot-clock violations, and
that helped us out a lot in the end.”
Andrae Betts led Saginaw
Valley State (1-2) with 18 points. Yates came off the bench and
scored 14 points for the Cardinals.
NKU will play Grand
Valley State at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in Regents Hall. Grand Valley
State, Findlay and Saginaw Valley State are all members of the Great
Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.