---NKU forward DeAaron Williams slams down two over Saint Joseph’s defender Will Jones (1) during the first half Thursday night. Williams finished with eight points, but Saint Joseph’s prevailed, 80-70.

By Tom Ramstetter, NKU Sports Information

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - Ronald Coleman scored 20 points and Devin Thomas added 19 as Saint Joseph’s rolled past the Northern Kentucky University men’s basketball team, 80-70, Thursday night in a Great Lakes Conference basketball game inside Regents Hall.

Will Jones scored 14 points, and Michael Horton added 10 as the Pumas put four players in double figures. Andrew Helmer grabbed seven boards and Saint Joseph’s outrebounded the Norse 32-26.

The Norse held a 51-48 lead with 10:10 left in the game after Harrison Morton hit two free throws, but the Pumas went on an 18-2 run over the next six minutes to go up 66-53 and essentially close out the game.

NKU drew to within seven, 66-59 when Dennis Gagai hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 3:01 left, but the Norse got no closer.

“It seemed like every shot that they threw up went in and it did,” NKU head coach Dave Bezold said. “We had a nice lead and we would break down every time. We missed a guy in transition. We switched when we weren’t supposed to. Instead of us building on a lead, they come down and keep it close.

"Our focus, for whatever reason, is not tough enough. The second time you run through the league, and we’ve been stressing this, you’ve got to be better and we’re not right now. It is somebody on each possession that isn’t getting the job done.”

Morton scored 25 points and was the only Norse player in double figures as NKU lost its second straight home game. Anthony Teague led the Norse with six rebounds, but scored just six points. DeAaron Williams scored eight points, but he fouled out late in the game. Scott Bibbins and Vincent Humphrey each scored six points.

“Again, teams scout us,” Bezold said. “When you have limitations and you have to play a certain way, they see it. There is a blueprint out there on how to defend us and we’re going to have to do some other things. We scored well in the second half but we just couldn’t stop them. They made shots and they continued to make shots. They just got a wave of momentum and they rode it. We haven’t had people step up and make plays defensively. That is the difference right now.

The Norse have fallen into a three-way tie for second place in the GLVC East Division with Lewis and Saint Joseph’s, all two games behind Kentucky Wesleyan. The Panthers defeated Wisconsin-Parkside on Thursday night, 92-75, in Kenosha, Wis.

“We’re just going to have to get back to doing things that made us successful, win close games, and battle,” Bezold said. “I don’t have a magic wand. I really don’t. It just takes toughness and right now we’re showing a lot of cracks that we didn’t have the first 16 games. We’re on the bench thinking how in the heck we won 16 games. How did we win 16 games playing like this? It’s frustrating for everybody but, you know what? We better figure it out or the season is going to be over in the next couple weeks.”

The Norse will host Indianapolis Saturday night at 7 p.m. in the final regular-season basketball game inside Regents Hall.

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