----Steven Wright launches a shot against Xavier

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - Northern Kentucky University begins the regular season Friday night by playing host to the 25th annual John L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic in Regents Hall.

NKU, which posted a 17-11 record last season, faces Ferris State at 7:45 p.m. Friday. The Norse will meet Wayne (Mich.) State at 7:45 p.m. Saturday in the finale of the two-day event.

Both NKU games will be broadcast live on WIOK (107.5 FM) and can also be heard on the Internet at athletics.nku.edu.

Ferris State posted an 18-13 record last season and advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament. The Bulldogs are picked second in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference North Division preseason poll.

Wayne State, also a member of the GLIAC, finished 11-14 last season and welcomes in a group of talented newcomers. The Warriors will meet Christian Brothers at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the opener of the John L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic.

TUNING UP FOR THE SEASON: NKU lost exhibition games to NCAA Division I opponents Cincinnati (87-41) and Xavier (58-44) in the preseason. In their last exhibition, the Norse built a nine-point lead over Xavier in the first half before losing by 14.

THE BIG MAN INSIDE: NKU senior center James Cripe scored 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds against Xavier. Cripe, the first 7-footer in Norse history, is a transfer from Dayton.

DAVID AND GOLIATH: NKU freshman David Jefferson made a big-time impression against defending Atlantic 10 Conference champion Xavier with 14 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field. The 6-foot-7 Jefferson also grabbed five rebounds against the Musketeers.

THE WRIGHT STUFF: NKU senior guard Steven Wright finished with 10 points, five rebounds and five assists against Xavier. A transfer from Bowling Green State, Wright also blocked a shot and added a steal in the Xavier game.

Last season at Bowling Green, Wright averaged 11.4 points per game. A graduate of Colonel White High School in Dayton, Ohio, Wright was named the Dayton Area Player of the Year as a senior after averaging 19 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.

ABOUT FERRIS STATE: The Bulldogs return three starters and six letterwinners from last season. The top player for Ferris State is senior forward Terrance Shaw, who was named All-GLIAC second team last season. The 6-5 Shaw averaged 13.0 points and a team-best 6.8 rebounds per outing in 2005-06.

----Terrance Shaw slams home two points

Senior forward Michael Daniels also returns after averaging 8.2 ppg and 4.4 rebounds. Guards Jessie York (8.7 ppg) and Julius Vines (4.5 ppg) also return for the Bulldogs.

THE LAST TIME AGAINST FERRIS STATE: On Dec. 28, 2002, at Hillsdale, Mich., NKU posted an 85-65 win over Ferris State. Quentin Smith came off the bench and scored 17 points for NKU, which improved to 10-0 with that victory. Brenden Stowers also came off the bench and added 14 points for the Norse.

NKU leads the all-time series with Ferris State, 4-0.

ABOUT WAYNE STATE: The Warriors welcome back three starters, including All-GLIAC performer Kris Krzyminski, who was 10th in the GLIAC in scoring last season at 14.1 points per game. He was also second in the conference with 5.6 assists per outing, fifth in free-throw percentage (.812), and first in minutes played per game (38.5).

Transfer Jason Saddler is a talented recruit who will make an immediate impact for Wayne State. Saddler scored 13 points and grabbed 13 rebounds during an exhibition game against Division I foe Eastern Michigan on Nov. 3.

NKU owns a 2-0 lead in the all-time series with Wayne State. In their last meeting, the Norse pulled out a 91-85 overtime win over the Warriors in Detroit, Mich., on Dec. 22, 2003.

LAST YEAR’S CLASSIC: On Nov. 18, 2005, a huge second-half run carried NKU to an 81-71 upset over No. 6 Findlay in the John L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic. The Norse used the scoring of Vincent Humphrey and Kevin Schappell to fuel the rally, which featured a 21-3 run that turned a 52-42 deficit into a 63-55 advantage with 6:34 remaining. Humphrey netted 13 of his game-high 22 points in the second half.

Schappell scored all 14 of his points in the second half, including a pair clutch 3-pointers during the Norse’s decisive run. He also grabbed five rebounds and made all four free throws he attempted.

Point guard Billy Finnell scored 10 of his 13 points in the second half to key the NKU comeback. He drilled a pair of 3-point shots and finished with five assists.

----James Cripe dunks against Xavier

Findlay, ranked No. 6 in the Division II Bulletin preseason poll, built a 48-37 lead on a 3-pointer by Tyler Evans with 14:18 remaining in the game. Humphrey, however, was fouled while attempting a trey and made all three free throws to bring NKU within eight points (48-40).

With Findlay holding a 52-42 lead, NKU started its run. Schappell drained a 3-pointer off an assist from Finnell to cut the lead to 52-45. Finnell made a jumper to bring the Norse within 52-47, and Humphrey later hit a pair of free throws to make it 52-49 with 11:49 left.

A 3-pointer by Josh Bostic pushed Findlay’s lead back to 55-49, but Finnell countered by hitting a long 3-pointer to make it 55-52. After Findlay’s Frank Phillips missed a short jumper, Finnell was fouled going for the rebound. He hit both free throws to bring the Norse within 55-54.

Moments later, Schappell chased down an offensive rebound after a Humphrey miss and threw it out to Finnell. The freshman point guard drew two defenders and found Schappell for an open 3-pointer in the right corner.

Schappell drained the shot to give NKU a 57-55 advantage with 9:18 remaining, and the Norse would not trail again. Schappell capped the spurt by making a jumper with 3:37 left to give NKU a 69-57 lead.

In the finale of the event the following night, Finnell came off the bench and dished out a career-best eight assists, scored nine points and added three steals as NKU defeated Saginaw Valley State, 74-66. Finnell was named NKU’s most outstanding player of the John L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic.

The NKU bench poured in 40 points and added nine assists to spark the victory over Saginaw Valley State. Schappell added 11 points off the bench for NKU and was named the recipient of the John L. Griffin Hustle Award for his play during the two-day event. Mark Hawkins added nine points and drained a key 3-pointer in the second half that gave the Norse a 63-52 lead.


John L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic

Past Results

1982
1st Round-Central State 70, Thomas More 59
NKU 87, Hanover 60
Consolation-Thomas More 63, Hanover 58
Championship-NKU 70, Central State 59 (3OT)

1983
1st Round-Taylor 52, Thomas More 48
NKU 72, Franklin 61
Consolation-Thomas More 82, Franklin 62
Championship-NKU 66, Taylor 50

1984
1st Round-NKU 77, Pikeville 65
Saint Joseph’s 76, Thomas More 63
Consolation-Thomas More 66, Pikeville 65
Championship-Saint Joseph’s 59, NKU 56

1985
1st Round-NKU 81, Michigan-Dearborn 51
Bethel 79, Thomas More 69
Consolation-Thomas More 86, Mich-Dearborn 65
Championship-Bethel 63, NKU 59

1986
1st Round-NKU 88, NE Illinois 74
Oakland 77, Hanover 59
Consolation-NE Illinois, Hanover 73
Championship-Oakland 64, NKU 62

1987
1st Round-NKU 94, Tiffin 85
Saginaw Valley State 86, Purdue-Calumet 84
Consolation-Purdue-Calumet 66, Tiffin 63
Championship-NKU 101, Saginaw Valley State 87

1988
1st Round-NKU 94, Judson 66
IU-Southeast 81, Edgewood 80
Consolation-Judson 106, Edgewood 81
Championship-NKU 88, IU-Southeast 71

1989
1st Round-Taylor 63, Oakland 54
NKU 82, DePauw 78
Consolation-Oakland 69, DePauw 49
Championship-Taylor 86, NKU 71

1990
1st Round-Aquinas 79, West Virgina Tech. 58
NKU 90, Ohio Dominican 64
Consolation-W.V. Tech 78, Ohio Dominican 64
Championship-NKU 106, Aquinas 92 (2OT)

1991
1st Round-Georgetown (Ky.) 96, UM-St. Louis 84
NKU 81, Shawnee State 77
Consolation-UM-St. Louis 83, Shawnee State 65
Championship-Georgetown (Ky.) 98, NKU 95

1992
1st Round-Campbellsville 108, Central State 85
NKU 79, Wilmington 65
Consolation-Central State 101, Wilmington 76
Championship-NKU 104, Campbellsville 97

1993
1st Round-Transylvania 80, North Dakota 73
NKU 98, Thomas More 59
Consolation-North Dakota 98, Thomas More 68
Championship-Transylvania 99, NKU 91

1994
1st Round-Cumberland (Ky.) 77, Quincy 74
NKU 101, Bethel (Tenn.) 69
Consolation-Quincy 91, Bethel (Tenn.) 80
Championship-NKU 80, Cumberland (Ky.) 64

1995
1st Round-Union (Ky.) 75, Grand Valley State 63
NKU 101, Bethel (Tenn.) 67
Consolation-Bethel 76, Grand Valley State 60
Championship-NKU 93, Union (Ky.) 77

1996 (round-robin format)
NKU 101, Ashland 65
Ashland 84, Pikeville 80
NKU 95, Pikeville 46

1997
1st Round-California (Pa.) 66, Saginaw Valley State 58
NKU 85, Central State 71
Consolation: Central State 71, Saginaw Valley State 70
Championship: California (Pa.) 75, NKU 74

1998
1st Round-Central State 65, Am. International 59
NKU 73, Thomas More 63
Consolation-Thomas More 71, Am. International 63
Championship-Central State 86, NKU 82

1999
1st Round-UW-Stevens Point 71, St. Michael’s 61
NKU 120, Thomas More 66
Consolation-St. Michael’s 103, Thomas More 86
Championship-NKU 64, UW-Stevens Point 60

2000
1st Round-California (Pa.) 74, Ohio Dominican 65
NKU 108, IU-Southeast 60
Consolation-Ohio Dominican 89, IU-Southeast 85
Championship-NKU 77, California (Pa.) 65

2001
1st Round-Central State 81, Christian Brothers 74
NKU 79, Ferris State 71
Consolation-Christian Brothers 87, Ferris State 79
Championship-NKU 106, Central State 85

2002
1st Round-Kentucky State 87, Ohio Valley 57
NKU 70, Findlay 62
Consolation-Findlay 94, Ohio Valley 73
Championship-NKU 90, Kentucky State 65

2003
1st Round-Christian Brothers 86, W. Va.Wesleyan 67
NKU 88, Gannon 81
Consolation-Gannon 86, W. Va. Wesleyan 72
Championship-Christian Brothers 66, NKU 55

2004 (round-robin format)
Christian Brothers 66, N. Michigan 65
NKU 55, Michigan Tech 53
Michigan Tech 55, Christian Brothers 52
NKU 73, N. Michigan 62

2005 (round-robin format)
Christian Brothers 82, Saginaw Valley State 69
NKU 81, Findlay 71
Findlay 77, Christian Brothers 60
NKU 74, Saginaw Valley State 66