Dec. 26, 1999
NKU (8-2) TO PLAY IN CAL (Pa.) TOURNAMENT
Norse face Mount Olive (N.C.) in first round
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - The Northern Kentucky University mens basketball team will participate in the Holiday Inn Tournament this Wednesday and Thursday (Dec. 29-30) at California (Pa.) University. NKU will meet Mount Olive (N.C.) College in the first round at 6 p.m. on Dec. 29.
NKU is now 8-2 after posting a second-place finish at the Puerto Rico Holiday Classic at San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Dec. 20. NKU - ranked No. 6 nationally in the Division II Bulletin poll - defeated Emporia State (77-47) and Augustana (77-69) during the tournament, but the Norse dropped a 72-69 decision to unbeaten Missouri Western State College in the championship game.
The Norse made 14 of 34 three-point attempts in that game, but a late basket by MWSCs Ryan Schumacher and two free throws by Reggie Alexander gave the Griffons the victory.
Sophomore forward Craig Sanders scored 22 points and made six three-pointers against MWSC to earn All-Tournament honors at the Puerto Rico Holiday Classic. Sanders averages 14.4 points per game and leads NKU in three-pointers made with 33. He has also made 73.3 percent of his free throws this season.
Junior guard Craig Conley (10.6 ppg) also earned All-Tournament honors after scoring 16 points in the championship game. Conley is tied for No. 1 on the team with 34 assists, and he is No. 2 with 21 steals. Conley has made 16 of 28 three-point attempts this season and ranks No. 4 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference in that category.
Junior guard Brian Lawhon averages 11.1 ppg, and he is No. 2 on the team in three-pointers made with 22. Lawhon also averages 3.2 rebounds per game.
NKU SEEKS REPEAT IN CAL TOURNAMENT: The last time NKU participated in a tournament at California (Pa.) was during the 1996-97 season, and the event was called the Observer-Reporter Invitational. NKU won the tournament title that season with victories against Westminster (Pa.) and California (Pa.).
On Dec. 6, 1996, NKU defeated Westminster (Pa.), 64-63, as Kevin Listerman hit the winning jump shot with 17 seconds remaining in the game. NKUs defense then stopped Westminster on the games last possession to record the victory.
In the championship game the next day, NKU posted an easy 90-60 win against California (Pa.) as Shannon Minor scored 24 points. Minor connected on 6 of 8 three-point attempts in that game and was named most valuable player of the tournament. Teammates Paul Cluxton (17 points), Cliff Clinton (16 points), and LaRon Moore (16 points) also played major roles in the victory against California (Pa.).
ABOUT MOUNT OLIVE COLLEGE: The Trojans enter the tournament with a 2-2 record. Mount Olive, which posted a 22-6 record last season, is an NCAA Division II affiliate and a member of the Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference.
Mount Olive features senior preseason All-America forward Chris McDonald, who scored 28 points and grabbed 13 rebounds during the Trojans 97-80 win against Bluefield State on Dec. 1.
McDonald, last seasons CVAC Player of the Year, leads the CVAC in scoring at 21.8 points per game, and he also ranks No. 1 in the conference in rebounding at 9.8 rpg. McDonald is also shooting 48.3 percent from the field, and he ranks No. 2 in the CVAC in blocked shots (1.75 bpg).
Junior guard Seneca Campbell scored 14 points in the victory against Bluefield State, and he made all four of his attempts from three-point range. Senior guard Russell Royal, who averaged 12.3 ppg a year ago, added 13 points in the win over Bluefield State.
NKU and Mount Olive have never met in mens basketball.
SHIELDS GETS VICTORY NO. 200, 201 IN PUERTO RICO: NKUs Ken Shields became the first mens basketball coach in Norse history to record 200 victories when NKU defeated Emporia State, 77-47, at the Puerto Rico Holiday Classic. Shields is now 201-129 in 12 years at NKU.
CAREER STATISTICS UPDATE: NKUs Craig Sanders has now scored 609 career points and ranks No. 40 on the NKU all-time scoring list.
NKUs Kevin Listerman has scored 625 points and ranks No. 39 on the list.
NKUs Brian Lawhon has now scored 805 points and ranks No. 28 on the list.
The Norses Craig Conley has scored 811 career points and ranks No. 27 on NKUs all-time list.