---Harrison Morton drives to the basket against North Alabama during the second half of NKU’s 76-73 win. Morton scored 17 points for the Norse.

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - The smallest man on the court made several of the biggest shots during Northern Kentucky University’s 76-73 win over North Alabama on Saturday.

Sophomore point guard Scott Bibbins scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half to spark NKU (8-1). The 5-foot-9 Bibbins hit three consecutive shots in the second half, including a 3-pointer from the top of the key, to keep the Norse within striking distance.

“Bibbins was very aggressive on offense, and his shooting during that stretch in the second half allowed us to stay close,” NKU head coach Dave Bezold said after his team extended its winning streak to seven games. “When you have a guy at the point who can score, it is going to cause a lot of problems elsewhere for the opponent. He did a great job of creating those opportunities. Scotty had a great weekend for us, and that’s one of the reasons we won a couple of games.

“It was a struggle at first, and it was a hard first half. We couldn’t make a shot, but I did feel like we had some good looks. They just weren’t falling, and we had to battle back. We just had to find a way to dig in deep, find some energy, overcome a deficit in the second half, and make some plays - and our kids responded.”

North Alabama (9-5) owned a 52-45 lead with 7:47 remaining in the game, but NKU responded with a 9-1 run to take a 54-53 advantage on an unusual five-point play with 6:19 left on the clock. As Vincent Humphrey buried a 3-pointer from the left wing, NKU’s Dennis Gagai was fouled away from the ball by Thomas Fraise. Gagai converted both free throws to cap the five-point possession for NKU.

After Isaac Gay hit a 3-pointer to give North Alabama a 56-54 lead, Harrison Morton started a 12-3 NKU run with an inside basket to tie the game at 56-all. Morton followed by making a pair of free throws, and Anthony Teague hit a jumper to extend the Norse lead to 60-57. Gagai then delivered a 3-pointer to give NKU a 63-57 advantage with 3:39 remaining, but Kenny Johnson countered by making two free throws to bring North Alabama to within 63-59.

Teague responded by draining a 3-pointer for a 66-59 Norse lead, and North Alabama found itself in big trouble with less than three minutes remaining.

“The guys stepped up and made plays,” Teague said. “The coaches told us to keep plugging away. Most coaches would tell you to pound it inside, pound it inside, but coach (Bezold) said if you keep the ball moving, we’ll be OK.”

---Scott Bibbins dribbles by North Alabama’s Kenny Johnson on Saturday. Bibbins scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half.

North Alabama had two chances in the final seconds to tie the game, but Casey Holt and Gay both missed 3-point attempts.

Morton scored 17 points, grabbed seven rebounds and added four steals for NKU, which committed just four turnovers the entire game. Teague finished with 13 points, while Humphrey added 12 points and six rebounds.

Teague also praised Bibbins for his play.

"Scotty is probably one of the best point guards that I’ve played with in a while,” Teague said. “He penetrates well, sees the floor well, and he’s so little. You don’t expect him to do all the spin moves that he does, but he plays real solid.”

Fraise, a 6-6, 300-pound post player, led North Alabama with 18 points. The Lions finished with a 40-32 rebounding advantage but were held to 37.8 percent shooting from the field.

“(Fraise) is a very good player, and he is a tough match-up for us,” Bezold said. “(North Alabama) has guys up and down the lineup who are capable of scoring 20 points on any given night. When you play against guys like that, you can’t take a night off defensively. I thought we battled pretty hard defensively, especially in the first half. We just had to find a way to win, and we did that.”

NKU resumes Great Lakes Valley Conference play Thursday, when Rockhurst visits Regents Hall for a 7:45 p.m. game. The Norse also play host to Drury next Saturday at 3:15 p.m.

NKU is 2-0 in the GLVC and the defending champion of the GLVC East Division. The Norse began GLVC play with road wins against Quincy and Southern Illinois at Edwardsville.