Wright finishes off a dunk during the first half of NKU’s
71-61 win over Rockhurst on Thursday. Wright scored 19 points
for the Norse, who advanced to the GLVC Tournament semifinals.
Ind. - Less than four weeks ago, Northern Kentucky University shot
its way to an easy 87-63 road win at Rockhurst. So, when those same
two teams met during the opening round of the Great Lakes Valley
Conference Tournament on Thursday, what were the NKU players thinking
prior to their second encounter with the Hawks?
time we played them, we hit nine out of 10 (3-point shots) to start
the game, so you can’t judge a team on a game like that,"
said NKU senior guard Steven Wright. "Rockhurst has a very
good team, and we knew this was going to be a much tougher game."
A tougher game
indeed, but NKU still found a way to win and pulled away for a 71-61
victory over Rockhurst in Roberts Stadium. The Norse, the No. 1
seed from the GLVC East Division, improved to 21-7 and will meet
Drury in the GLVC Tournament semifinals at noon (CST) Saturday.
was named GLVC Player of the Year a day earlier, scored 19 points
to lead the NKU offense. He also made five free throws in the final
1:31 to help seal the win for the Norse. The 6-foot-3 senior guard
also had a pair of resounding dunks, bringing his season total to
added 17 points, and Billy Finnell finished with 12 points and six
assists for NKU, which built a 34-24 halftime lead after shooting
56.5 percent from the field.
buried a 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer to give NKU the
10-point advantage at the break.
the ball so well the first time we played them, we really didn’t
know how good this team can be," NKU head coach Dave Bezold
said. "Rockhurst just beat Southern Indiana, and you have to
be good to beat them. They also knocked off some other very good
opponents this season, so you almost had to throw that first game
we played out. Our guys were patient, and we did a good job attacking
in transition, and it's a good win over a very talented Rockhurst
back in the second half and took a 43-41 lead with 10:32 remaining
on a basket by Jon-Erik Price. NKU,
however, countered with a 16-4 run to take a 57-47 advantage. Teague
started the NKU spurt by draining a 3-pointer from the top of the
key off an assist from Vincent Humphrey to give NKU a 44-43 advantage.
Schappell scored seven
points during the run, and Finnell capped the spurt with a driving
layup to stretch the Norse lead to 57-47 with 4:40 remaining.
Schappell drives past Rockhurst defender Aaron Hill during
NKU’s 71-61 win Thursday in the GLVC Tournament. Schappell
poured in 17 points for the Norse, who will meet Drury in
the semifinals at noon (CST) Saturday.
3-pointer from the top of the key was the biggest shot of the game
because it gave us the lead, and you could feel our energy level
soar," Bezold said. "Everyone became involved after that
shot, and Anthony is the kind of player who can make big plays from
anywhere on the floor."
Joey Deas scored
15 of his 18 points in the second half to rally Rockhurst, and John
Torson added 11 points for Rockhurst (17-11). The Hawks won the
rebounding battle by a 31-30 margin but made just 38.7 percent of
their shots from the field.
trouble stopping Deas in the second half, but he hit some great
shots," Bezold said. "Rockhurst is really a strong, physical
team. Luckily, we played well for the most part, and our guys made
big free throws in the final minutes."
15-for-17 from the line, including 12-for-14 in the second half.
Wright used 7-for-8 shooting from the line to help ice the victory,
and he was recognized at the conclusion of the Drury/Wisconsin-Parkside
game for being voted the GLVC Player of the Year.
The former Dayton
Colonel White star, who transferred to NKU after spending three
seasons at Bowling Green, was appreciative of receiving the GLVC
"It means a great
deal to me, but I really am not about individual awards, and I never
have been," he said. "I’ve always been about team
goals. The important part of it is being out there with my teammates
and playing to win. It’s important they’re comfortable
with me out there on the floor with the ball, and I just want to
help us win."
"If we could get a player like Steve every year, we would win
20 games every season. He is a great teammate, he shows up every
day and works extremely hard in practice. You don’t have to
worry about him being late, and he is a coach's dream.
we can keep Steve around a couple of more weeks and have some fun
in the postseason. This was fun today, and Steve was able to show
off some of his dunking skills to the crowd down here."
a 34-point scoring outburst by Wisconsin-Parkside's LaVontay Fenderson
to hold on for an 88-75 win over the Rangers in the other afternoon
first-round game. Collins Harris scored 20 points to lead the Panthers,
who defeated NKU earlier this season, 78-69, at Springfield, Mo.