Wright slams down a second-half dunk
Ky. - The outside shooting of Mark Hawkins and the inside play of
7-footer James Cripe keyed Northern Kentucky University's 86-61
win over Thomas More on Saturday night.
But it was the
scoring of Steven Wright that allowed NKU to run away from the Division
III Saints in the second half. Wright, who finished 7-for-11 from
the field with six rebounds, scored 14 of his game-high 21 points
after the halftime break.
senior guard said NKU head coach Dave Bezold provided some motivation
for the team at the break.
out kind of sluggish in the first half, so coach gave us a pep talk
and told us we needed to pick it up," Wright said.
NKU did just
that to start the second half, going on a 10-0 run to extend a 39-27
lead to 49-27. Billy Finnell capped the 10-0 spurt by draining a
3-pointer with 17:39 to play, and the Norse would lead by as many
as 29 points later in the half.
in the first half we were a little slow responding in different
ways," Bezold said. "Offensively, we weren’t really
working and then defensively, we didn’t have a lot of energy.
In the second half, I felt like we came out and had a lot of energy
and played a lot better and shared the ball. As a result we built
our lead, and that was the difference in the game.”
nine of his 14 points during the first 20 minutes of play. He also
scored five points during the decisive 10-0 run to start the second
half. Hawkins, meanwhile, scored eight of his 13 points in the first
half as NKU built a 39-27 lead. The junior guard hit a pair of 3-pointers
before halftime and added another trey from downtown in the second
get those first couple of shots to fall, it makes all the difference.
We had people doing a good job of finding the open shooter tonight,"
Hawkins said. "It helps when people drive and dish, and then
you just step in and shoot."
added eight points, six rebounds and four assists for NKU, which
was coming off a loss at Bellarmine. Travis Rasso finished with
seven points and two blocks, while teammate Darral Payton scored
four points and grabbed four rebounds.
Payton battles Aaron Miller
added five points and three rebounds for NKU, which shot 50.9 percent
from the field. The Norse also connected on 82.1 percent of their
free throws. Wright - who threw down a pair of electrifying breakaway
dunks Saturday night much to the delight of the Regents Hall crowd
- added three assists and two steals.
and Wright have been consistent for us in the early going, and I
would like some of the other guys to do the same thing," Bezold
led Thomas More (0-4) with 14 points. The Saints managed to shoot
just 33.9 percent from the field and committed 17 turnovers.
NKU has now
beaten Thomas More 21 consecutive times and holds a 30-5 lead in
the all-time series with the Saints. NKU has not lost to Thomas
More since the 1980-81 season, when the Saints defeated the Norse
by a 61-52 score in Regents Hall.
kind of sloppy, but we came out with a win. I think this game really
helped us with our confidence," Hawkins said. "We’ve
got a big conference game coming up against Quincy next week, so
it’s always good to get a win after you take a tough loss
like we did at Bellarmine."
NKU will play
host to Quincy and defending regional champion Southern Illinois
at Edwardsville next week. Quincy visits Regents Hall Thursday for
a 7:45 p.m. game, and SIUE will meet NKU at 3:15 p.m. Saturday.
A year ago,
Quincy knocked off NKU in their only meeting. SIUE defeated the
Norse twice, including a 78-74 decision during the first round of
the GLVC Tournament.
are two very good teams we have to play here next week," Bezold
said. "Quincy has a great deal of talent, and they have one
of the best newcomers in this conference. Edwardsville is experienced
and talented, and they know how to win big games."