Wright soars in for a resounding dunk
Ky. - An exceptionally strong bench provided Northern Kentucky University
with many crucial plays Saturday night during a come-from-behind
75-69 win over Wayne (Mich.) State in Regents Hall.
52 points, 11 rebounds and eight steals from its bench en route
to the victory during the final game of the John L. Griffin/Lions
Club Classic. The Norse trailed by eight points (48-40) with 14:25
remaining in the game, but reserve guard Kevin Schappell sparked
a 12-2 NKU with seven points.
- another key player off the NKU bench - capped the run by draining
a 3-pointer from the right wing to give the Norse a 52-50 lead with
9:18 left on the clock.
fortunate that we had people come off the bench and play really
well and find a way to win," NKU head coach Dave Bezold said.
"We had trouble getting our energy and getting into a flow
tonight. (Against Ferris State) it was really easy because the shots
fell, but tonight they didn’t fall so easily.
happens you have to figure out a way to win and grind it out and
that’s what we did. Our bench is one of our strengths, and
the ability to bring in a number of guys helped us win the game.
We had a lot of people make big plays during that run, and then
they closed it out by finishing at the end."
State tied the game at 52-all on a basket by Wynn Sarden, Steven
Wright gave NKU a 55-52 advantage by nailing a 3-point shot. The
Warriors tied the game again with 6:27 remaining, but Billy Finnell
countered by making a short jumper in the lane to give NKU a 59-57
two free throws with 5:20 remaining to extend NKU's lead to 61-57,
and David Jefferson later gave the Norse a 63-57 advantage by sinking
a jumper in the lane. The 6-foot-7 freshman added two free throws
with 2:30 left in the game to extend NKU's lead to 67-59, and Wright
brought the crowd to its feet with less than a minute remaining
by finishing off a breakaway with a resounding slam dunk.
kept fighting the whole game. We didn’t give up. We kept fighting
until the end," said Schappell. "It shows what our depth
can do for us. At the end of the game not many of our starters were
in the game, but our bench came in and delivered, and we came back
and took the lead."
with 17 points and was named the most outstanding player of the
John L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic for NKU. The 6-3 transfer from
Bowling Green added five rebounds and two steals in 27 minutes of
Finnell shoots over WSU's Joe Carr
with 14 points, four assists and was named the recipient of the
John L. Griffin Hustle Award for his play during the two-day event.
The sophomore point guard was 7-for-8 from the line and added two
rebounds. Junior forward Harrison Morton scored eight points, collected
three steals and helped to contain Wayne State guard Kris Krzyminski.
with a game-high 23 points and was named Wayne State's most outstanding
player. Morton and several other NKU defenders, however, kept the
high-scoring guard from getting easy looks at the basket.
did a great job. He reminded me of (former NKU standout Mike) Kelsey
midway through the game," Bezold said. "When he started
getting on a roll, we were getting kind of nervous because no matter
what kind of defense you play on him, you can’t stop him.
He’s got the ability to make the tough, tough shots no matter
how you defend him."
NKU (2-0) forced
20 turnovers and committed just 11 for the game. The Norse shot
50 percent from the field, including 54.5 percent in the second
half. Wayne State sizzled from the field and finished at 58.1 percent
for the game, but the Warriors could not overcome the turnovers
and NKU's bench.
During the two-day
tournament, NKU's bench produced 96 points and 28 rebounds. Ferris
State and Wayne State combined for a total of 16 points and 11 rebounds
against the Norse.
going to be like that for the rest of the season because we’re
so deep," said Schappell, who earned honorable mention All-Great
Lakes Valley Conference accolades last season. "Coach Bezold
tells us that 'not everyone can play the piano but some people have
to carry it.' By
that statement he means that not everyone can play, but some people
have to carry the idea and support the team. Everybody’s going
to get their turn, but you have to wait for your turn sometimes."
NKU is now 6-0
under Bezold in the John L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic, and all
six wins have come against teams from the Great Lakes Intercollegiate
Athletic Conference. That's why the season-opening event is so important
to the Norse.
being 6-0 (against the GLIAC) in this tournament.It’s been
pretty good so far with the John L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic,"
Bezold said. "The last three years we’re 6-0 in it, so
that’s good scheduling, I guess. Regional wins are very important.
Especially down at the end because that’s the way you get
an opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament. And that’s
In the other
game Saturday night, Christian Brothers held off Ferris State, 67-62.
NKU begins GLVC
play Tuesday night at 8 p.m. with a road game against Bellarmine
in Louisville, Ky.