Feb. 26, 2004

THREE-POINTER SINKS BELLARMINE, 82-79

Purdon hits basket with 5.5 seconds remaining to lift NKU to win

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Steve Purdon’s three-point basket with 5.5 seconds remaining in the game snapped a 79-79 tie and gave Northern Kentucky University an 82-79 win over Bellarmine University Thursday night in Knights Hall.

Zach Miller’s three-point attempt at the buzzer rimmed out and the Norse defeated Bellarmine for the 19th straight time. Bellarmine’s last victory against NKU came on Feb. 3, 1994, when the Knights escaped with a 73-72 win in Regents Hall.

Jordan Stowers scored 15 points and dished out seven assists for the Norse, who improved to 16-13 overall, 9-10 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. NKU trailed the Knights 34-30 at the end of the first half, but the Norse used 10-of-17 shooting from three-point range in the second half to rally.

Stowers keyed the Norse spurt by making a trio of three-pointers at the beginning of the half. NKU built a 73-64 lead with 2:31 remaining in the game after Stowers made two free throws.

“Jordan Stowers played very well tonight,” said NKU head coach Ken Shields. “He did what we knew he was capable of.”

Bellarmine, though, responded with a 15-6 run and tied the game on a steal and a basket by Jason Johnson with 11.8 seconds remaining. The Norse won the game on a 22-foot jumper from the right side by Purdon in the closing seconds off an assist from Jesse Rupe.

“Fortunately we made some free throws at the end, and Steve Purdon made a tremendous shot to help us to the win,” said Shields.

Bruce Johnson led Bellarmine (9-18 overall, 6-14 GLVC) by scoring 19 points. Rupe finished with a game-high 24 points and 12 rebounds for the Norse. Mike Kelsey added 22 points for NKU.

“Kelsey came up real big in the second half from behind the three-point line after shooting 1-of-6 in the first half,” said Shields.

NKU will finish up the regular season Saturday with a 4:30 p.m. game at Kentucky Wesleyan College.

The Norse have clinched a spot in the upcoming GLVC Tournament, which will be played March 5-7 at Roberts Stadium in Evansville, Ind.

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Jordan Stowers