Cripe jams down a second-half basket during NKU’s 63-61
loss to Southern Indiana in the championship game of the GLVC
Tournament. Cripe finished with four points and two blocks.
Ind. - For 38 minutes Sunday afternoon, Northern Kentucky University
took care of the ball, executed its offense and made enough big
plays to win the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament championship.
But in the final
two minutes, Southern Indiana took advantage of a pair of NKU turnovers
and a missed block-out assignment for an offensive rebound to rally
for a 63-61 victory over the Norse in Roberts Stadium.
Eagles – holding a 62-61 lead in the closing seconds of the
game - also had to sweat out a last-second shot attempt by NKU’s
Billy Finnell, who missed a driving, off-balance shot from the right
side of the lane. Finnell's shot attempt hit the side of the backboard
and was rebounded by Rashard Sullivan.
NKU fouled Kenny
Love with 0.1 seconds remaining, and he made the second of two free
throws to extend Southern Indiana’s lead to 63-61. The Norse
attempted a full-court pass that was intercepted, and 14th-ranked
Southern Indiana escaped with the victory.
plenty of opportunities to win, but we let them get a couple of
offensive rebounds late and they turned them into baskets. You can’t
beat Southern Indiana like that,” NKU head coach Dave Bezold
said. “I thought we were going to win, but our guys gave a
great effort against an outstanding Southern Indiana team. We just
made a few mistakes, especially after we built the big lead.”
NKU (22-8) built
a 56-46 lead with 9:52 remaining on Harrison Morton's
basket, but Southern Indiana countered with a 12-3 run to cut the
Norse advantage to 59-58 with 2:11 left. Screaming Eagle guard Kenny
Page, generously listed as 5-foot-9, capped the run by grabbing
an offensive rebound and scoring while being fouled.
the free throw, and NKU’s lead was down to a point.
made a pair of free throws with 1:52 left to extend NKU’s
lead to 61-58, Southern Indiana turned the ball over and the Norse
appeared on their way to winning the GLVC title for the second time
in four years. Finnell, however, had a pass stolen by Love, who
raced down the floor for a layup that brought Southern Indiana to
within 61-60 with 1:17 remaining.
Morton hits a shot against Southern Indiana on Sunday. Morton
finished with 14 points and four rebounds.
NKU still owned
that lead with less than a minute remaining when Sullivan missed
a short jumper. Page, however, again worked his way inside for an
offensive rebound and tipped in the miss to give Southern Indiana
a 62-61 advantage with 34 seconds on the clock.
to block out and keep them from getting offensive rebounds, especially
after we played good defense and made Sullivan miss inside,”
NKU called timeout
with 29 seconds remaining and, after running the clock down to 11
seconds, Finnell attacked the basket from the right side of the
court. The sophomore guard’s shot was contested by Page and
Sullivan, and the ball never reached the rim after hitting the side
of the backboard.
Southern Indiana crowd of 2,804 let out a collective sigh of relief,
and the Screaming Eagles won the GLVC Tournament championship for
the second time in three years.
led NKU with 17 points and seven rebounds. Morton added 14 points
for the Norse, while Anthony Teague chipped in 10 points. Wright
and Teague were named to the GLVC’s All-Tournament team.
led USI (28-5) with 14 points and was named the tournament's most
outstanding player. Page finished with 12 points, while Sullivan
added 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots.
Sunday as the No. 1 seed from the GLVC East Division, while Southern
Indiana was the GLVC West Division champion and No. 1 seed. It marked
the second time this season Southern Indiana knocked off NKU in
a berth as the No. 4 seed in the NCAA Division II Tournament late
Sunday night and will meet No. 5 Drury (21-8) in the Great Lakes
Regional, which will be hosted by Findlay (28-1). The eight-team
regional will begin play next Saturday at Findlay, Ohio, with times
to be announced Monday afternoon.
NKU and Drury
have split two meetings this season. Drury knocked off NKU, 78-69,
last month at Springfield, Mo., and the Norse rallied to eliminate
the Panthers from the GLVC Tournament semifinals, 69-62, on Saturday
at Evansville, Ind. The NKU/Drury winner will possibly get a shot
at top-seeded Findlay, which has won 58 consecutive home games -
the longest streak in the nation at any level in the NCAA. The Oilers
meet eighth-seeded Wisconsin-Parkside (19-12) in the first round.
NKU is making
its first trip to the NCAA Division II Tournament since the 2002-03