against Callistus Eziukwu
Ky. - Kevin Schappell and his Northern Kentucky University teammates
did not want their Thanksgiving holiday spoiled a day early by Grand
“If we had lost, it would have put a sour taste in our mouths
and we would have went home and everyone would have been in a bad
mood and not had a good Thanksgiving,” Schappell said.
Everything should taste just fine for the NKU players and coaches
following the Norse’s 73-63 win over Grand Valley State on
Wednesday night in Regents Hall. NKU built a 16-point halftime lead
by limiting the Lakers to 28 percent shooting from the field and
held off a late rally to improve to 3-0.
Schappell, a junior wing player and a graduate of Loveland High
School, finished with 12 points, three steals and two assists off
the bench. He also made a pair of key 3-point shots in the second
half as NKU won its third straight game against a school from the
Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
The GLIAC and the Great Lakes Valley Conference compete for bids
in the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region at the end of the regular
season. The winners of the GLIAC and GLVC Tournaments receive automatic
berths in the NCAA Tournament, and six more teams get at-large berths.
That makes the 3-0 record against the GLIAC even more important
for NKU, a member of the GLVC.
“It’s a regional win, and they (Grand Valley State)
are a pretty good team in our region, so they are going to knock
some other teams off in their conference,” Shappell said.
“I thought we played great defensively, and it’s just
something we need to keep building on.”
NKU used a 15-2 run to end the first half and take a 38-22 lead
at the break. Norse freshman guard Mike Kimmey drained a pair of
3-pointers to spark the Norse spurt.
drives against GVSU
Billy Finnell added five points during the run, including a jumper
with one second remaining to end the half. Finnell, who was named
NKU’s most outstanding player during the John L. Griffin/Lions
Club Classic last week, finished with 16 points, four steals and
three assists Wednesday night against Grand Valley State.
The NKU bench, led by Schappell and Finnell, outscored Grand Valley
State by a 42-16 margin.
“Each time we went to the bench, they responded. They actually
helped jump-start us a little bit and gave us some freshness and
some new life,” NKU head coach Dave Bezold said. “We
built a big lead in the first half, and that’s important because
teams are going to make runs at you.
“If you can get that lead, then you can have a lull in the
second half and have a cushion to work with. We were fortunate enough
to have that cushion.”
Grand Valley State (2-1) rallied behind the play of Mike Hall,
who had 18 points and nine rebounds. The Lakers - who hit eight
of their first 10 shots from the field in the second half - cut
NKU’s lead to 67-59 with 1:35 remaining on a layup by Courtney
James, but the Norse made six free throws in the final 46 seconds
to seal the victory.
Kevin Reinhardt finished with 16 points and five rebounds for NKU.
The Norse used 9-for-19 shooting from 3-point range to offset Grand
Valley State’s 36-27 edge in rebounding.
NKU also committed just nine turnovers, and that statistic made
“That’s a heck of a job,” Bezold said of the
nine turnovers. “We have really been focusing on and talking
about (turnovers) since the first day of practice because we were
careless with the basketball in October, and they have really made
a conscious effort to take care of the basketball. It’s something
we have to do night in and night out to give ourselves a chance
Bezold also praised Schappell’s performance and versatility.
goes to the basket
“It wasn’t just his points. He does so much defensively,
being in the right spots. He guards guys 6-foot-5, 6-foot-10, and
he is always in the right spots,” Bezold said. “Also,
he may not score, but he generates so much offense by being out
there and moving so well.
“If we could get a few more people moving like he does, then
we will be something. We’ll turn into a much better team as
the year goes on.”
Jason Jamerson scored 14 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked
two shots for Grand Valley State. The Norse held 6-10 center Callistus
Eziukwu to eight points and four rebounds in 22 minutes of play.
Going into the game, Eziukwu was averaging 13.5 points and 10.0
rebounds per game.
is team win because we all played well together,” Reinhardt
said. “We all enjoy playing together, and that helps us out
a lot. We just have to keep it up.”
NKU will begin GLVC play at 7:45 p.m. Dec. 1 against Rockhurst
in Regents Hall. The Norse were picked second in the GLVC East in
the preseason poll.