Cripe posts up XU’s Justin Doellman
When Steven Wright drained a long 3-pointer to give Northern Kentucky
University a 25-16 lead over Xavier late in the first half Monday
night, the partisan Musketeer crowd of 7,152 in the Cintas Center
became eerily silent.
Most of those
in attendance expected to see Xavier roll over the visiting Norse.
Instead, NKU held a nine-point lead over the defending Atlantic
10 Conference Tournament champions after Wright's long-range trey,
and the Norse would take a 25-22 advantage to the locker room at
Stanley Burrell decided to step up and carry Xavier. And did he
16 of his game-high 17 points in the second half, including nine
straight during a pivotal stretch, as Xavier rallied to hold off
NKU, 58-44. The junior guard sparked a 20-4 second-half run and
hit a trio of 3-pointers as the Musketeers survived a major scare
from the Norse.
is a really good team, but we did a nice job of running our offense
and competed really hard," NKU head coach Dave Bezold said.
"If we make some shots in the second half, and we did get good
looks, this game would have really been interesting at the end."
NKU shot 25
percent from the field in the second half and missed all 12 of its
3-point attempts after intermission. The Norse finished 3-for-23
from 3-point range for the game.
has to step up and make shots for us, but we had great effort and
I was pleased with how we played," Bezold said.
Adrion Graves came off the bench and added 10 points for Xavier,
which shot 48.1 percent from the field in the second half and making
just 25 percent of its attempts before halftime. Justin Doellman
and Justin Cage each scored eight points for the Musketeers, the
preseason favorite to repeat as Atlantic 10 Conference champions.
Wright drives against Xavier
NKU, which had
suffered a 46-point loss to Cincinnati last Wednesday, battled Xavier
for the entire 40 minutes Monday night before succumbing in the
end. David Jefferson scored 10 points in the first 12 minutes as
NKU built a 17-10 lead. The 6-foot-7 freshman was 5-for-6 from the
field in the opening 20 minutes and finished with 14 points.
to account for David for every possession on the boards if you are
the other team," Bezold said. "David had a great day of
practice yesterday, and he really responded in this game. He played
within himself, didn't try to do too much and did a great job."
NKU center James
Cripe also battled effectively and finished with 10 points, nine
rebounds and a steal before fouling out. The 7-foot senior was 5-for-8
from the field and impressed Bezold with his performance.
to find more ways of getting James the ball. Xavier did a great
job of doubling down on him, but he competed very hard and was a
factor inside all night," Bezold said.
with 10 points, five assists and five rebounds for NKU, which lost
by 34 points to Xavier last season in the Cintas Center. The Norse
attempted just eight free throws the entire game, while Xavier was
16-for-26 from the charity stripe.
came off the bench and grabbed eight rebounds for Xavier. Cage blocked
three shots for the Musketeers, who finished with eight rejections
as a team.
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.
NKU is the preseason
favorite to win the Great Lakes Valley Conference East Division