John Williamson (45) defends NKU’s Harrison Morton during
the first half of last season’s exhibition in Fifth
Third Arena. Williamson scored 21 points to lead the Bearcats
to an 87-41 win.
Ky. - Northern Kentucky University will play an exhibition game
against the University of Cincinnati at 7:30 p.m. this Wednesday
in Fifth Third Arena.
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 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. Shooting
guard 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
Hawkins is a
3-point shooting machine who knocked down 26 treys last season.
McFarland, a 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
NKU hopes to
get a boost from 6-5 senior Anthony Teague (9.2 ppg), who is awaiting
word from the NCAA for another year of eligibility. Teague made
a team-leading 66 3-point shots last season. Teague will not play
in Wednesday's exhibition game.
SERIES: NKU and UC met seven times in regular-season contests
from 1981-1988, and the Bearcats hold a 7-0 lead against the Norse
in the all-time series. After the 1988-89 season, however, UC dropped
the series against NKU to boost its strength of schedule. The Bearcats
do not play non-Division I opponents in the regular season because
of the RPI ratings that help determine NCAA Tournament berths.
SEASON’S EXHIBITION AGAINST UC: On Nov. 1, 2006,
Cincinnati held NKU to just two field goals in the first half en
route to an 87-41 victory over the Norse in Fifth Third Arena. The
Bearcats shot 60 percent from the field and rolled to the victory.
held a 2-0 lead just 18 seconds into the game when James Cripe took
a pass from Steven Wright and powered his way in for a basket. UC,
however, countered with a 10-0 run and NKU never recovered.
Two free throws
by Billy Finnell cut the UC lead to 10-4, but the Bearcats used
a 14-0 run to build a 24-4 advantage with 10:31 remaining in the
first half. John Williamson and Cedric McGowan each scored five
points during the UC spurt.
Marcus Sikes (10) battles NKU’s Anthony Teague for position
last season. Teague scored seven points in that game.
made Mick Cronin's debut as head coach a comfortable experience
by building a 47-11 lead at halftime. NKU shot just 2-for-13 from
the field, missed all eight of its 3-point attempts and committed
17 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes. Many of the NKU turnovers
led to transition baskets by the Bearcats.
NKU hit nine
3-pointers in the second half, but UC continued its torrid shooting
from the field (53.8 percent) and coasted to the win. The Bearcats
won the rebounding battle by a 42-19 margin and committed just 13
turnovers. Williamson finished with a game-high 21 points and grabbed
seven rebounds in his UC debut. The 6-foot-6 forward was 8-for-12
from the field. Cedric McGowan added 18 points and five rebounds,
while Marvin Gentry scored 11 points.
Wright led NKU
with nine points and five rebounds. Anthony Teague scored seven
points, while Mark Hawkins added six points and a team-leading three
assists. The Norse finished by hitting 26.7 percent of their shots
from the field.
AGAINST DIVISION I OPPONENTS: NKU is 0-10 against Division
I opponents since 2001. The Norse are 0-6 against Cincinnati, 0-1
against Kentucky, 0-2 against Xavier and 0-1 against Ohio State.
LAST WIN AGAINST A DIVISION I OPPONENT: On Jan. 14, 1984,
NKU stunned Tennessee State, 66-64, in Regents Hall. It was NKU’s
second win of the season against a Division I foe (the Norse also
knocked off Evansville), and it marked the final time a Division
I men’s opponent would visit Regents Hall.
RUN: NKU captured the GLVC East Division title last season
with a 13-6 record. The Norse later advanced to the GLVC Tournament
championship game against Southern Indiana and dropped a 63-61 decision.
NKU earned a berth in the NCAA Division II Tournament and knocked
off Drury in the opening round by a 73-68 score. The Norse then
stunned top-seeded Findlay, 60-56, in the regional semifinals, ending
the Oilers’ 59-game home winning streak. Grand Valley State
defeated NKU in the regional championship game, 66-42.
OPEN REGULAR SEASON AGAINST UC-CLERMONT: NKU begins the
regular season at 7:45 p.m. Nov. 16 against UC-Clermont in the John
L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic in Regents Hall. The next night, NKU
will meet Division II national powerhouse Findlay at 7:45 p.m. in
the final game of the John L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic.
Cincinnati, Ohio - Fifth Third Arena (13,176)
NKU (24-9 in 2006-07) at Cincinnati (11-19), 7:30 p.m.
Radio: WIOK (107.5 FM and on the Internet at www.nkunorse.com)
Series Record: UC leads, 7-0
Last Regular-Season Meeting: UC 75, NKU 63 (11-27-88)
Note: NKU and UC have played exhibition games in
each of the past six seasons. The Bearcats have won all six of those
meetings, including an 87-41 victory over NKU last year.