Kimmey launches a 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down
in the first half. Kimmey’s trey found the bottom of
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.
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."
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
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.
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.
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.
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
(17 points) and Devin Thomas (11 points) led Saint Joseph's, but
that duo combined for just 8-for-22 shooting from the field.
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.
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.
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."