Dec. 3, 2002
NKU TO MEET NO. 1 KWC THIS THURSDAY
Norse play top-ranked Panthers in battle of unbeaten teams
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - The Northern Kentucky University mens basketball team will travel to Owensboro, Ky., this Thursday night to meet top-ranked Kentucky Wesleyan College at 8:30 p.m. in the Owensboro Sportscenter.
Kentucky Wesleyan is 2-0 overall (1-0 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference) and owns a 41-game home winning streak, which is the longest in NCAA Division II mens basketball. The Panthers are ranked No. 1 nationally in the NCAA Division II poll.
NKU is also unbeaten (5-0 overall, 2-0 GLVC) after posting a 73-54 win over the University of Missouri-St. Louis on Monday in Regents Hall. Brenden Stowers scored 18 points Monday to lead the Norse. Quentin Smith added 13 points and eight rebounds for NKU, which shot 61.5 percent from the field in the second half to pull away from Missouri-St. Louis.
NKU built a 13-point lead early in the game, but Missouri-St. Louis closed the half with a 19-9 run to pull within 27-24 at intermission. The Norse used a 12-4 run to begin the second half and held 41-28 lead on Stowers' three-point basket with 14:47 left, but the Rivermen staged another rally.
After Missouri-St. Louis cut NKUs lead to 50-46 on a three-pointer by Qwanzi Samuels with 9:19 remaining, Smith keyed a 10-0 run with a pair of baskets as the Norse increased their advantage to 57-46. Chris Seabrooks then hit a short jumper while being fouled and converted the free throw to give NKU a 60-46 lead.
STOWERS POWERS NORSE: NKU senior guard Brenden Stowers has come off the bench in each of the first five games, and he leads the Norse in scoring at 15.0 points per contest. Stowers - who has scored in double figures every game this season - is also shooting 63.3 percent from the field and 58.3 percent from three-point range. He leads the team in assists (3.0 apg) and steals (3.0 spg).
ON TARGET: NKU is shooting 53.7 percent from the field and features six players who have made at least 53 percent of their shot attempts. Jesse Rupe is shooting 67.9 percent from the field, and Chris Seabrooks has connected on 64.0 percent of his field goal attempts.
Stowers (63.3 percent), Quentin Smith (561. percent), Jordan Stowers (57.1 percent) and Bobby St-Preux (53.3 percent) are also shooting better than 50 percent from the field.
ABOUT KENTUCKY WESLEYAN: The Panthers are 2-0 after posting a 73-61 win over the University of Southern Indiana last Saturday night in Owensboro, Ky. Kentucky Wesleyan had the bye this past Monday.
The Panthers are led by senior guard Marlon Parmer, a transfer from the University of New Mexico who averages 23.5 ppg. Parmer also averages 7.5 assists per game. Senior center Eugene Dabney, a 6-foot-11 transfer from Rutgers, averages 14.0 ppg and 7.0 rebounds per game. Dabney also has four blocked shots and is shooting 75.0 percent from the field.
OWENSBORO JINX: NKU has not beaten Kentucky Wesleyan in the Owensboro Sportscenter since Feb. 11, 1988, when the Norse posted a 93-85 victory over the Panthers. Since then, NKU has dropped 16 consecutive games to Kentucky Wesleyan in the Owensboro Sportscenter.
NKU head coach Ken Shields is 0-16 against Kentucky Wesleyan in the Owensboro Sportscenter. NKU has won four times in the Owensboro Sportscenter in the NCAA Tournament against teams other than Kentucky Wesleyan - victories over Grand Valley State and Southern Indiana (2001), Northern Michigan (2000) and Ferris State (1998).
A YEAR AGO AGAINST KENTUCKY WESLEYAN: Kentucky Wesleyan defeated NKU twice last season and owns a 39-17 lead in the all-time series with the Norse. In the first meeting, on Dec. 6, 2001, Bobby Zuerner scored 17 points and made two clutch free throws with 4.9 seconds remaining in the game as top-ranked Kentucky Wesleyan defeated NKU, 64-62, in Regents Hall.
Zuerners two free throws with 4.9 seconds left gave Kentucky Wesleyan a 64-60 lead. NKUs Craig Sanders hit a jumper at the buzzer to account for the final margin.
Kentucky Wesleyan built a 31-23 halftime lead by holding 17th-ranked NKU to just 33.3 percent shooting from the field. The Panthers used the inside attack of Tyrus Boswell (16 points, nine rebounds) and the outside shooting of Zuerner to eventually build a double-digit lead (37-27) in the second half.
NKU, however, fought back behind the play of Sanders (19 points), Carl Mitchell (13 points, eight rebounds, five blocked shots) and Brenden Stowers (14 points, four assists) to take a 53-52 lead on a Stowers three-pointer with 3:31 remaining.
Kentucky Wesleyan regained the lead at 54-53 when Boswell hit a short jumper with 3:17 remaining, and the Panthers never trailed again. NKU collected 11 blocked shots against the taller Panthers, but the Norse made just 7 of 21 three-point attempts.
In the second meeting on Feb. 16, Tyrus Boswell scored 26 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked four shots as Kentucky Wesleyan defeated NKU, 99-76, at the Owensboro Sportscenter. Chris Landry also recorded a double-double (19 points, 11 rebounds) for the Panthers, who shot 54.8 percent from the field and won the rebounding battle by a 47-29 margin. Sanders scored 25 points for NKU, and Stowers added 18 points and eight assists for the Norse.
ABOUT BELLARMINE: The Knights are 3-5 overall after rallying from a 21-point deficit in the second half Monday night to upset Southern Indiana, 82-80, at Louisville, Ky. Bellarmine is 1-1 in the GLVC.
Bellarmine is led by junior forward Justin Cornell, who averages 18.5 ppg. Cornell also hit the winning shot Monday night - a three-pointer with 2.7 seconds left in the game - to lift the Knights past Southern Indiana. Bellarmine trailed 60-39 with 13 minutes remaining before rallying for the victory.
Senior guard Brad Ayer - who averages 11.9 ppg - scored 26 points against Southern Indiana. Junior forward Adam Etienne averages 13.0 ppg and 6.1 rebounds.
NKUS STREAK AGAINST BELLARMINE: NKU has beaten Bellarmine 15 consecutive times, and the Norse have not lost in Knights Hall since the 1991-92 season. Bellarmines last victory against NKU came on Feb. 3, 1994, when the Knights escaped with a 73-72 win in Regents Hall.
A YEAR AGO AGAINST BELLARMINE: NKU won both meetings with Bellarmine last season. On Jan. 19 in Regents Hall, Brenden Stowers scored 18 of his 24 points in the second half as NKU defeated Bellarmine, 76-72. Stowers made a trio of three-point shots midway through the second half as the Norse rallied for the victory.
Bellarmine led by as many as nine points in the first half, but NKU cut the deficit to 35-34 at halftime on a Mike Kelsey three-pointer. The Norse shot 55.6 percent from the field in the second half and eventually built a six-point lead with 5:45 left on a pair of free throws by Darnell Fields.
Bellarmine cut the lead to two points three different times in the final minutes, but free throws by Stowers and Craig Sanders sealed the win for NKU. Sanders finished with 17 points.
In the rematch at Louisville, Ky., on Feb. 14, Kelsey scored 21 points as NKU defeated Bellarmine, 95-73, in Knights Hall. Kelsey scored 18 points in the first half as NKU built a 51-29 lead. Fields scored 10 of his career-high 19 points before halftime for the Norse, who shot 54.8 percent from the field in the opening half.
Carl Mitchell finished with 13 points for NKU, and Sanders added 11 points. Stowers and Bobby St-Preux both scored 10 points for NKU.
OHIO NORTHERN, WAYNE STATE NEXT: After NKU concludes this two-game road trip, the Norse will take next week off for exams and return to action on Dec. 21 with a 1 p.m. home game against Ohio Northern University. NKU will also play a home game on Dec. 23, when Wayne (Mich.) State University visits Regents Hall for a 7:45 p.m. contest.