Humphrey challenges Kentucky Wesleyan with a baseline drive
during the first half of NKU’s 69-62 win. Humphrey finished
with 15 points and six rebounds as the Norse rallied to defeat
FOR PHOTO GALLERY
Ramstetter, NKU Sports Information
Ky. - Vincent Humphrey and Dennis Gagai scored 15 points apiece
and the Northern Kentucky men’s basketball team beat Kentucky
Wesleyan, 69-62, Saturday afternoon in a Great Lakes Valley East
Division showdown at Regents Hall.
to 13-2 overall, 7-1 in the GLVC to maintain sole possession of
first place in the East Division. Kentucky Wesleyan fell to 14-3,
5-2 in the GLVC. The Panthers had won nine consecutive games entering
the first-place battle Saturday.
The Norse have
now won seven straight against the Panthers and Norse head coach
Dave Bezold owns a 7-0 record against Wesleyan.
25-21 at halftime, NKU opened the second half on a 21-8 run, including
three straight 3-pointers by Harrison Morton, Humphrey and then
Anthony Teague. The Norse busted the Kentucky Wesleyan zone defense
by making their first five attempts from behind the arc to start
the second half.
we just asked them to get it to certain spots and make the zone
collapse,” Bezold said. “We were very fortunate to get
some great penetration out of it and move the ball and be able to
kick it back out. And the shots were more of what we practiced.”
drew to within two at 46-44 with under 10 minutes remaining before
Billy Finnell went on a 5-0 run himself with a conventional three-point
play on a layup and then another basket to make the score 51-44.
Finnell added a trey from the top of the key at the 3:15 mark to
make it 59-50 Norse.
Finnell, a Purcell
Marian High School graduate, finished with 11 points. Jeff Fahnbulleh
led the Panthers with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Rodney Edgerson
added 15 points for Kentucky Wesleyan.
the game on an 8-0 run and led 10-4 after the first four minutes.
Kentucky Wesleyan’s 6-0 run tied the game at 10, and the Panthers
outscored NKU 13-6 over the next few minutes to go up 23-16. Gagai
hit a 3-pointer from the left wing to cut it to 23-19 and Kentucky
Wesleyan maintained that four-point lead into the locker room.
NKU shot only
3-for-17 from 3-point range in the first half and just 9-for-30
from the field.
Scott Bibbins goes to the basket against the defense of Kentucky
Wesleyan’s T.J. Smith. Bibbins scored six points and
dished out seven assists as the Norse defeated the Panthers,
they see a zone, they get excited because they know they don’t
have to run around,” Bezold said. “They knew they’d
have wide-open looks. The threes, I felt they were open but they
were a little too far. What we weren’t doing was penetrating
the zone and making it collapse a little bit so our shots were shorter.”
the Norse with seven points on 3-for-6 shooting and five rebounds
in the first half and Gagai was 2-for-7 from the field and just
1-for-6 from behind the arc to add five first-half points. Lorenzo
Taylor and Edgerson led the Panthers with six points apiece in the
first half. Kentucky Wesleyan made 8 of 20 first-half field goals
and was 8-for-8 at the free-throw line.
just weren’t falling,” Gagai said of the first-half
struggles. “Everything we shot was an open shot. The second
half, it just seemed like a whole new game. We started hitting shots.”
3-pointer from the baseline gave NKU a 29-27 lead and Teague followed
with a trey from the top of the key on the next possession to put
the Norse up for good, 32-29.
was key was to make a shot early to give us some confidence because
we shot so poorly (in the first half),” Bezold said. “But
when you shoot 30 percent and you’re only down four at halftime,
you feel pretty good about it. You feel like in the second half
you’re going to rebound and your shooters are going to make
shots. Then they’re going to have to play pretty well just
to stay with you.”
The shots did
start falling. NKU made 15 of 26 second-half shots and held off
the Panthers and their sharp-shooting from the free-throw line.
Kentucky Wesleyan made its first 17 free throws and finished 23-for-24
from the line to go along with 18-for-39 shooting from the field.
we weren’t playing the first half to our best ability,”
Humphrey said. “Coach just told us to keep confident, keep
shooting, have confidence. This is our gym. At the end of the game,
we’ll be victorious.
is full of runs, and I don’t think they really responded to
the one we had at the beginning of the second half.”
added eight points, two blocked shots and four rebounds for the
Norse, who travel to Missouri-St. Louis on Thursday for an 8:30
p.m. contest. Scott Bibbins dished out seven assists and had two
steals NKU, while Teague finished with eight points.