Billy Finnell attempts a jumper against Cincinnati during
an exhibition game on Oct. 31. Finnell, a junior guard, dished
out a team-leading 123 assists last season as NKU posted a
24-9 record and advanced to the championship game of the NCAA
II Great Lakes Regional.
Ky. - The Northern Kentucky University men’s basketball team
begins the season Friday at 7:45 p.m. by hosting UC-Clermont in
the 26th annual John L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic.
at 7:45 p.m., NKU will take on Findlay in a much-anticipated rematch
of last season’s NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region semifinal
game that the Norse won by a 60-56 score at Findlay, Ohio. NKU snapped
Findlay’s home winning streak at 59 games with that victory.
The Oilers -
who knocked off Ohio State in an exhibition game last week - are
ranked No. 5 nationally in the NCAA Division II poll.
Both games can
be heard live on the Internet at www.nkunorse.com or on the radio
on WIOK-FM (107.5).
three starters from last season’s 24-9 team that advanced
to the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region Tournament championship
game. The Norse are picked to finish second in the Great Lakes Valley
Conference East Division preseason poll.
NKU must replace
GLVC Player of the Year Steven Wright, who averaged 16.8 points
per game last season. Wright also became the first men’s basketball
player in Norse history to earn first team All-America honors.
Billy Finnell returns to the NKU lineup after averaging 7.5 ppg.
Finnell, a graduate of Purcell Marian High School in Cincinnati,
dished out a team-leading 123 assists last season. NKU also welcomes
back senior forwards Vincent Humphrey and Harrison Morton. Humphrey
averaged 7.5 ppg last season, while Morton scored 6.0 ppg.
Mark Hawkins (4.1 ppg), defensive standout David McFarland, point
guard Scott Bibbins and center Travis Rasso also return for NKU,
which won the GLVC East championship last season with a 13-6 record.
Hawkins is a 3-point shooting machine who knocked down 26 treys
tenacious defender and intense competitor, usually draws the toughest
defensive assignment for the Norse. Bibbins played in six games
before suffering a season-ending injury and was granted a medical
redshirt. Rasso, a 6-foot-8 senior, averaged 3.3 points per game.
Scott Bibbins drives past Deonta Vaughn of Cincinnati during
an exhibition game on Oct. 31 in Fifth Third Arena.
HAWK SOARS AGAINST UC: NKU senior guard Mark Hawkins buried
seven 3-pointers against the University of Cincinnati on Oct. 31
in an exhibition game. Hawkins, a graduate of Finneytown High School,
finished with 21 points against the Bearcats during NKU’s
IMPRESSIVE IN SETBACK: NKU made 16 shots from 3-point range
against Cincinnati and was down just two points (70-68) in the closing
seconds. Cincinnati, though, hit six free throws down the stretch
to escape with a 76-71 victory.
The Norse connected
on six 3-point shots in the opening six minutes of the game to build
a 22-7 lead. Harrison Morton capped the early NKU run with a driving
caught NKU and later took a 63-56 lead when Rashad Bishop nailed
a 3-pointer with 5:41 remaining in the game. NKU, though, responded
with an 8-2 run to make it 65-64 with 3:13 left. Hawkins capped
the spurt by burying a long 3-pointer.
countered by making a 3-pointer and finishing off a break with a
basket to make it 70-64. Hawkins later hit another 3-pointer to
bring NKU within 70-68 with 34 seconds remaining, but UC made its
free throws and improved to 7-0 against NKU in exhibition games.
UC-CLERMONT: The Cougars are the defending national champions
of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association. UC-Clermont
features guard Stefan Dunn, who was named most valuable player of
the USCAA Tournament after scoring 24 points in the national championship
game last season.
LAST TIME AGAINST UC-CLERMONT: On Dec. 23, 2006, NKU rolled
to a 94-58 win over UC-Clermont in Regents Hall. Kevin Schappell
scored 18 points for the Norse, and Steven Wright added 17.