Wright challenges Julius Vines
Ky. - When Steven Wright decided to transfer to Northern Kentucky
University, head coach Dave Bezold predicted the 6-foot-3 guard
would entertain the fans in Regents Hall this season and help the
Norse win plenty of games.
Wright won over
the NKU fans Friday night during a 73-59 victory over a talented
Ferris State team during the opening round of the 25th annual John
L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic in Regents Hall. The former Bowling
Green State standout scored 19 points on 7-for-8 shooting from the
field, grabbed three rebounds and dished out two assists in his
regular-season debut with the Norse.
had a great first game with us. When he plays within himself, he’s
a special player,” Bezold said. “You are always excited
to get that first win, and it takes a lot of pressure off of you.
The guys did a nice job tonight against a tough team."
13 points before halftime as NKU built a 44-29 lead at the break.
His steal and breakaway dunk with 7:21 remaining in the first half
gave the Norse a 29-17 lead.
out tonight and everyone decided that we were going to play together,
and we were aggressive on offense and defense," Wright said.
“Coach tells me every day that I just have to let the game
come to me and slow down. And I played my game from there.”
NKU shot 53.1
percent from the field in the first half and forced 12 turnovers
by Ferris State. Anthony Teague drained a trio of 3-point shots
and scored nine points before halftime for the Norse, while David
Jefferson added eight points before the break. Teague and Jefferson
were also making their regular-season debuts for NKU on Friday night.
The Norse led
by as many as 17 points in the second half and coasted to the season-opening
victory. NKU made 62.5 percent of its shots from the field in the
second half and finished at 56.3 percent for the game. The Norse
also were 11-for-22 from 3-point range for the game.
Jefferson dunks in the first half
didn’t play great defense, and we had more turnovers than
I was hoping," Bezold said, referring to his team's 14 turnovers,
"but, to come back to our gym and shoot, it’s great because
after the exhibitions we were wondering if we could make a shot.
get back home, it’s nice to be able to relax and put up those
numbers. Our guys did a really good job of making shots, and Ferris
State has a very good team."
- also making his NKU debut Friday - scored eight points and grabbed
a team-leading five rebounds for NKU, which placed 11 players in
the scoring column. Billy Finnell and Kevin Schappell each scored
seven points off the bench, with Finnell dishing out a game-high
the first half by drawing two Ferris State defenders on a drive
down the lane and finding Cripe with a great pass under the basket.
The 7-foot Cripe powered his way for a two-handed dunk with six
seconds left on the clock and gave NKU a 44-29 lead.
a nice way to end the first half. Billy does a great job of penetrating
defenses, and his passing was excellent the entire game," Bezold
added six points for NKU. The Norse bench contributed 44 points
and 16 rebounds Friday night, while Ferris State received just two
points from its reserves.
NKU also won
the rebounding battle by a 31-21 margin. Finnell led the Norse with
really proud that there were different people throughout the game
that we were able to call on to make big plays for us," Bezold
said. "That’s one of the things about this team - we’re
going to be flexible, we’re going to be deep and we’ve
got a lot of different weapons we can use.”
led Ferris State (0-1) with 18 points and six rebounds. Julius Vines
and Jessie York each added 11 points for the Bulldogs, who advanced
to the NCAA Division II Tournament last season and nearly knocked
off top-seeded Saint Joseph's in the first round of that event.
Cripe ends the first half in style
added 10 points and blocked two shots for Ferris State, which is
expected to challenge for the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic
Conference championship this season. The Bulldogs, who shot 46.8
percent from the field and shot 7-for-15 from 3-poinr range, were
picked second in the GLIAC North Division preseason poll.
want to play the best teams in our region, and Ferris State is well-coached
and has some really good players," Bezold said. "Now we
have to step up and play another really good GLIAC team in Wayne
State. That's what it is all about, though. You want to see how
you stack up against good teams in your region."
over Ferris State marked the third straight year that NKU opened
the season with a victory over a GLIAC opponent. Two years ago,
NKU stunned No. 6 Michigan Tech, 55-53, on a last-second shot by
Harrison Morton. Last season, the Norse again pulled off an upset,
this time an 81-71 decision over No. 6 Findlay.
NKU now leads
the all-time series with Ferris State, 5-0.
The Norse will
meet Wayne State at 7:45 p.m. Saturday in the finale of the two-day
event. The Warriors dropped a 66-51 decision to Christian Brothers
in the other opening-round game Friday night.