SPOILERS: A year ago, NKU pulled off one of the most
memorable upsets in school history with a 60-56 win over Findlay
during the NCAA Tournament. Steven Wright (1) goes past Findlay’s
Frank Phillips (44) for a basket during that victory, which
snapped the Oilers’ 59-game home win streak.
Ky. - The Northern Kentucky University men’s basketball team
begins play at the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region Tournament
Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. in Allendale, Mich.
NKU is the No.
4 seed and will meet No. 5 seed Kentucky Wesleyan in the first round.
The Norse are 20-7 and defeated the Panthers twice during the regular
season. Kentucky Wesleyan enters the NCAA Tournament with a 24-7
State is the No. 1 seed and host for the men’s Great Lakes
Regional. The unbeaten Lakers (33-0) meet eighth-seeded Saint Joseph’s
in the first round. The winner of that game will meet the NKU/ Kentucky
Wesleyan survivor Sunday night in the semifinals.
game is set for Tuesday at 7 p.m. All NKU games will be broadcast
on WIOK (107.5 FM) and the Internet at www.nkunorse.com
State is the defending regional champion. The Lakers defeated NKU
in last season’s NCAA II Great Lakes Region championship game
at Findlay, Ohio.
NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY: NKU is 15-10 all-time during NCAA
Division II Tournament play. The Norse won Great Lakes Region championships
in 1996 and ’97, and in both of those seasons they advanced
to the NCAA Division II national championship game and finished
STUN NATION LAST YEAR: On March 11, 2007, NKU snapped the
nation’s longest home winning streak at 59 with a 60-56 victory
over top-seeded Findlay in the semifinals of the NCAA II Great Lakes
Region Tournament at Findlay, Ohio. Steven Wright scored 18 points
as the Norse rallied to defeat the Oilers in Croy Gymnasium.
32-29 at halftime despite shooting 54.5 percent from the field,
but the Norse started quickly to begin the second half. Billy Finnell
began the rally with a basket, and Vincent Humphrey followed with
a 3-pointer to give NKU a 34-32 lead.
over minutes later, scoring seven consecutive points to give NKU
a 43-36 advantage. Wright started his personal assault with a long-range
3-pointer and capped it with a driving layup that was assisted by
Finnell. Findlay then demonstrated why it had not lost to a non-conference
opponent at home since 1997. The Oilers used an 11-0 run to take
a 47-43 lead on Frank Phillips’ basket with 10:41 remaining,
and the crowd suddenly became a factor.
by Dorian Bass gave Findlay a 54-50 lead with just 3:56 left on
the clock, and it appeared NKU was about to see its season end.
Wright brought NKU within a point (56-55) by burying a long 3-pointer
with 2:33 remaining. David McFarland then stole the ball from Phillips
in the lane and found Wright sprinting to the other end of the court.
in for a vicious two-handed dunk to give NKU a 57-56 lead with 1:59
remaining, and the crowd suddenly became eerily silent. Bass attempted
to win the game with a 3-pointer out front, but the shot missed
and was rebounded by Humphrey. He was fouled with 0.3 seconds left
and made both free throws to seal the win and end Findlay’s
dominance in Croy Gymnasium.
CARE OF THE BALL: NKU ranks No. 1 nationally in the latest
NCAA Division II statistics in fewest turnovers with 10 per game.
Norse junior guard David McFarland continues to lead the nation
in assist-to-turnover ratio at nearly 6-to-1.
EXIT: NKU won the GLVC East Division title and earned a
No. 1 seed in the GLVC Tournament, but the Norse dropped an 80-76
decision to Lewis in the first round on March 4 in Regents Hall.
NKU had beaten Lewis twice in the regular season.
LAST TIME AGAINST KENTUCKY WESLEYAN: On Feb. 21 in Owensboro,
Ky., NKU emerged with a 78-63 win over Kentucky Wesleyan in a battle
for first place in the GLVC East. Harrison Morton scored 22 points
to lead NKU.
Billy Finnell added 17 points on 6-for-7 shooting from the field
for NKU, which has beaten Kentucky Wesleyan eight consecutive times.
The junior guard from Purcell Marian High School also dished out
four assists and made all four of his free-throw attempts.
The NKU defense
limited Jeff Fahnbulleh to seven points. Fahnbulleh entered the
contest averaging 18.6 points per game. The Norse also held Rodney
Edgerson (18.4 ppg) to nine points. T.J. Smith netted 26 points
to lead Kentucky Wesleyan. Dennis Gagai scored 10 points for NKU,
and Anthony Teague finished with nine points.
Earlier in the
season, NKU posted a 69-62 win over Kentucky Wesleyan in Regents
Hall. Norse head coach Dave Bezold is now 8-0 all-time against the