---Harrison Morton drives against Drury during last season’s GLVC Tournament at Evansville, Ind. Morton will be expected to provide NKU with scoring punch this season.

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - The final season of basketball in Regents Hall tips off Nov. 16 for the Northern Kentucky University men in the annual John L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic.

NKU plays UC-Clermont at 7:45 p.m. Nov. 16 to begin the season. The next evening, NKU plays host to NCAA Division II national power Findlay in a rematch of last season’s Great Lakes Regional semifinal game.

The Norse posted a 60-56 win over Findlay in that semifinal contest to snap Findlay’s home winning streak at 59 consecutive games.

“You know the players and coaches at Findlay will remember that game, and they will be a very difficult test for us early in the year because we lost some outstanding seniors,” NKU head coach Dave Bezold said. “It doesn’t get any easier after that because we go on the road and play Ferris State, and then we start the conference schedule on the road at Quincy and (Southern Illinois) Edwardsville.”

NKU opens Great Lakes Valley Conference action Nov. 29 at Quincy, followed by a Dec. 1 game at SIUE. Quincy posted a 20-10 record last season and advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament. SIUE, which is reclassifying to NCAA Division I status, is competing in the GLVC for the final time this season.

“That’s a very tough way to start conference play. Quincy and Edwardsville are both loaded with talent,” Bezold said.

Southern Indiana will visit Regents Hall on Jan. 17, and Kentucky Wesleyan makes its annual appearance in Highland Heights two days later.

NKU will say farewell to Regents Hall on Feb. 16, when Indianapolis visits for a 7 p.m. game. The Norse will move into their new on-campus home, The Bank of Kentucky Center, beginning in 2008-09. Members of the 1971-72 Norse men’s basketball team, the first in the school’s history, will be recognized during the final game in Regents Hall on Feb. 16. The 1971-72 team did not have a home gym in which to play games or practice.

The first Northern Kentucky State College team played its home games at local high school gyms.

NKU closes out the season with four consecutive road games, beginning with a Feb. 19 GLVC East battle at Bellarmine. The Norse also visit Kentucky Wesleyan (Feb. 21), Wisconsin-Parkside (Feb. 28) and Lewis (March 1) to end the season.

The GLVC Tournament will again be held at Evansville, Ind., in Roberts Stadium March 7-9.

---Vincent Humphrey attempts a jumper against UW-Parkside last season. Humphrey averaged 7.5 points per game and made 42.9 percent of his 3-point attempts during the 2006-07 campaign.

NKU must replace three of its top four scorers from last season, including All-America guard Steven Wright (16.8 points per game). Wright also earned Great Lakes Valley Conference Player of the Year honors last season.

NKU posted a 24-9 record last season and won the GLVC East Division title. The Norse advanced to the championship game of the GLVC Tournament and dropped a 63-61 decision to Southern Indiana.

After earning a berth in the NCAA Division II Tournament, NKU defeated Drury and Findlay. Grand Valley State halted NKU's quest for a trip to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight by knocking off the Norse in the Great Lakes Regional championship game.

"Our seniors did a great job of leading us last season, and now we need our returning players to step up and provide that same leadership," Bezold said. "Steven Wright, James Cripe and Kevin Schappell did a great job. We do have some good players returning, and we hope that experience in the NCAA Tournament last season makes them even more determined this year.

"There are a lot of good teams in our conference and our region. We need to be focused and ready to play if we want to have a chance at repeating last season's success."

The Norse welcome back junior point guard Billy Finnell (7.5 ppg, team-leading 123 assists), senior forward Vincent Humphrey (7.5 ppg) and senior forward Harrison Morton (6.0 ppg) to provide offense. NKU junior guard David McFarland is back and is the team’s defensive stopper, while senior guard Mark Hawkins is one of the top 3-point shooters in the GLVC.

Senior post player Travis Rasso is also back and adds experience to the inside attack. Point guard Scott Bibbins returns after suffering a season-ending injury in December. NKU has added West Virginia University transfer Dennis Gagai, who scored a school-record 1,595 career points as a prep star at Ironton (Ohio) and earned first team Division III All-Ohio honors as a senior.

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