---Mike Kimmey launches a 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down in the first half. Kimmey’s trey found the bottom of the net.

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - On a night when a king and queen were crowned at halftime, Northern Kentucky University handed Saint Joseph's a royal beating in Regents Hall.

NKU scored the first 11 points of the game, led by as many as 31 in the second half and completely dominated the court during an 85-60 win Saturday night in front of an energetic Homecoming crowd of 1,572. The Norse improved to 14-5 overall and maintained their share of first place in the Great Lakes Valley Conference East Division with a 7-4 record.

What made the victory even more satisfying for NKU was the fact it came against the defending GLVC champions, and it stopped a three-game losing streak to the Pumas. Saint Joseph's had also won the past two years in Regents Hall, but NKU led the entire game Saturday night.

The Norse drained eight 3-pointers during the first half and shot 63 percent from the field to build a 46-26 advantage at the break. NKU senior guard Kevin Schappell did much of the damage from the outside and netted 15 of his 17 points before halftime.

"That was a big win for us in front of a big crowd," said Schappell, who also added five rebounds. "We wanted to get the fans into the game by getting a big lead early. We wanted to get the fans excited so they’ll come back and see us play again."

Steven Wright set the tone early by scoring five of NKU's first seven points. The senior guard also did severe damage to the Saint Joseph's defense with his passing during the first half, finding open teammates for six assists.

"We made shots early in the game, and our passing was outstanding," NKU head coach Dave Bezold said. "Steve found open people when Saint Joseph's tried to double up on him, and Kevin Schappell came through with huge shots all through the first half. Everything we did seemed to work."

The best example of that statement occurred with less than four minutes remaining before halftime and the shot clock winding down. The Pumas knocked the ball loose, and Wright chased it down 40 feet from the basket. He drove toward the top of the key against heavy defensive pressure and found an open Mike Kimmey in the left corner.

Kimmey launched a 3-pointer just before the shot clock expired, and the ball found the bottom of the net to give NKU a 44-20 lead.

---James Cripe prepares to shoot over Saint Joseph’s defender Brandon Mayse in the first half.

The second half was more of the same. Anthony Teague's breakaway dunk gave NKU an 81-50 lead with 4:33 left in the game. The Norse cooled off to 40.9 percent from the field in the second half but were 17-for-19 from the free-throw line.

NKU also held Saint Joseph's (10-8 overall, 5-5 GLVC) to just 36.4 percent shooting from the field.

"Our guys did a good job defensively on them, because they have several players who can really score," Bezold said. "We kept the pressure on them, and we made the open shots. That's how you win games, and this was a huge victory for us in front of a great crowd. I know our players enjoy this kind of atmosphere, and it made for a fun night."

Ronald Coleman (17 points) and Devin Thomas (11 points) led Saint Joseph's, but that duo combined for just 8-for-22 shooting from the field.

Wright scored 16 points, dished out seven assists and grabbed five rebounds for NKU. Teague and Mark Hawkins each added 11 points off the bench for the Norse, who totaled 54 points from the reserves on Saturday. Travis Rasso also came off the bench and contributed eight points and six rebounds in 14 minutes of action.

James Cripe finished with nine points and six rebounds, while Billy Finnell dished out five assists and recorded a game-high four steals. NKU finished 12-for-23 from 3-point range and limited Saint Joseph's to 4-for-14 shooting from behind the arc.

A rugged road trip looms for NKU this week, beginning with a Thursday night game against Drury in Springfield, Mo. The Norse conclude the western road trip Saturday at Rockhurst.

"Those are going to be very hard games against really good teams, and I hope we can continue to play like we did tonight," Schappell said. "It seems like every road game is especially tough in this league. We know Drury and Rockhurst both have a lot of talent, so it's going to be a tough trip."

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