----Mark Hawkins drives against Cincinnati

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - Northern Kentucky University will play an exhibition game against Xavier at 7 p.m. Monday in the Cintas Center.

Xavier is the defending Atlantic 10 Tournament champion. The Musketeers, who welcome back four starters, have been selected as the preseason favorite to repeat as Atlantic 10 champions.

Xavier finished with a 21-11 record last season after nearly upsetting Gonzaga in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament at Salt Lake City, Utah. The Musketeers opened exhibition play last week with an 82-58 win over Tusculum (Tenn.) in the Cintas Center.

The NKU/Xavier game will be broadcast live on WIOK (107.5 FM). It can also be heard live on the Internet at http://athletics.nku.edu.

It will be the second exhibition game in six days against a Division I opponent for NKU, which dropped an 87-41 decision at Cincinnati last Wednesday night. Cincinnati held NKU to just two field goals in the first half en route to the win. The Bearcats shot 60 percent from the field and took advantage of 17 first-half turnovers by NKU.

NKU hit nine 3-pointers in the second half, but UC continued its torrid shooting from the field (53.8 percent) and coasted to the win. The Bearcats won the rebounding battle by a 42-19 margin and committed just 13 turnovers.

Steven Wright led NKU with nine points and five rebounds. Anthony Teague scored seven points, while Mark Hawkins added six points and a team-leading three assists. The Norse finished by hitting 26.7 percent of their shots from the field.

NKU/XU SERIES: Xavier owns a 3-2 lead in the all-time regular-season series with NKU. The two schools have not met in the regular season since Jan. 6, 1979, when Tom Schneider came off the bench and scored 25 points as NKU stunned Xavier, 63-61, in overtime at Schmidt Fieldhouse.

The previous season, NKU upset the Musketeers, 59-58, as Mike Hofmeyer tipped in a shot at the buzzer to give the Norse the win.

LAST SEASON’S EXHIBITION AGAINST XU: On Nov. 5, 2005, Brian Thornton scored 22 points on 9-for-10 shooting from the field as Xavier defeated NKU, 78-44, at the Cintas Center.

Stanley Burrell added 13 points and six assists for Xavier, which shot 57.1 percent from the field. The taller Musketeers won the rebounding battle by a 43-30 margin and held NKU to 26.3 percent shooting from the field.

----James Cripe scores against Cincinnati

The Norse were unable to overcome a slow start and trailed 42-17 at halftime. Xavier scored the game’s first eight points and jumped out to a 23-6 lead. The Musketeers’ 8-0 run to start the game was keyed by five points from Thornton, a 6-foot-9 post player who dominated the inside.

NKU made just 18.5 percent of its shots in the first half, including 0-for-11 shooting from 3-point range. Thornton scored 13 points before halftime by making all five of his attempts from the field. Burrell added 12 points during the opening 20 minutes.

The Musketeers sealed the win by shooting 61.9 percent from the field in the second half. B.J. Raymond had 10 points in his Xavier debut before a crowd of 6,759.

Kevin Schappell scored eight points for NKU, and Vincent Humphrey added six points in his Norse debut. NKU finished 4-for-25 from 3-point range.

FAMILY TIES: Xavier senior forward Justin Doellman is the son of former NKU basketball standout Dan Doellman, who played for the Norse from 1975-79. Dan Doellman averaged 18.6 points per game during his career at NKU and finished with 1,920 career points. He also led NKU to the 1978 NCAA Division II Tournament.

The elder Doellman was also a charter member of the NKU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1997.

EXHIBITIONS AGAINST DIVISION I OPPONENTS: NKU is 0-9 against Division I opponents since 2001. The Norse are 0-6 against Cincinnati, 0-1 against Kentucky, 0-1 against Xavier and 0-1 against Ohio State.

NKU’S LAST WIN AGAINST A DIVISION I OPPONENT: On Jan. 14, 1984, NKU stunned Tennessee State, 66-64, in Regents Hall. It was NKU’s second win of the season against a Division I foe (the Norse also knocked off Evansville), and it marked the final time a Division I men’s opponent would visit Regents Hall.

NORSE OPEN REGULAR SEASON AGAINST FERRIS STATE: NKU begins the regular season at 7:45 p.m. Nov. 17 against Ferris State in the John L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic in Regents Hall. Ferris State advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament last season and is expected to challenge for the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship this season.

The next night, NKU will meet Wayne (Mich.) State at 7:45 p.m. in the final game of the John L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic.