Dec. 9, 2003
NKU PLAYS HOST TO CENTRAL STATE
Norse play non-conference game at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - The Northern Kentucky University mens basketball team will play host to Central State University (3-4) at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday night in Regents Hall.
The Norse enter that non-conference game with a 6-4 record after rallying for an 80-79 win at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside last Saturday. NKU is 3-1 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference, and the Norse will not resume GLVC play until Jan. 2.
COMEBACK THRILLER: NKU rallied from a 15-point deficit in the second half Saturday to defeat Wisconsin-Parkside. NKU made 8-of-13 three-point attempts in the second half to key the comeback, and Brian Lewins layup with 27 seconds remaining in the game gave the Norse an 80-79 victory.
With the Rangers leading by a 67-57 score, NKU used an 11-2 run to close the gap to 69-68. Adam Howell scored nine of his 14 second-half points during the NKU run by making a trio of three-point baskets.
In the closing minutes, Glenn Barlow converted a free throw to give Wisconsin-Parkside a 79-78 advantage. The Rangers still owned that lead and the ball with less than a minute remaining, but Jerome King missed a jump shot that was rebounded by Lewin.
Sean Rowland hurried the ball down the floor, and he spotted Lewin wide open underneath the basket. Lewin converted the layup to give NKU an 80-79 lead with 27 seconds remaining.
Wisconsin-Parkside had a chance to win in the final seconds, but Dean Pogodzinskis jumper in the lane was off target. It was NKUs fourth straight win against Wisconsin-Parkside during the past two seasons.
Mike Kelsey led the Norse with 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting, and he added a game-high eight rebounds. Kelsey also made four three-point shots. Jesse Rupe finished with 12 points, and Kevin Reinhardt added 11 points.
Rowland dished out a game-high seven assists for NKU, which made 10-of-20 from three-point range.
SHIELDS NEARS 300 CAREER WINS: NKU head coach Ken Shields enters Wednesdays game with 296 career victories. He is the Norse's all-time career leader in wins.
HOWELL ON TARGET: NKU senior guard Adam Howell averaged 13.0 points per game on last weeks road trip at Lewis and Wisconsin-Parkside. He also made 7-of-11 three-point attempts in the two games. For the season, Howell averages 8.1 ppg.
RUPE ON A ROLL: NKU senior center Jesse Rupe has emerged as one of the top post players in the GLVC this season, and he enters Wednesday averaging 15.0 ppg and 6.9 rebounds per contest. Rupe is also shooting 58.6 percent from the field and has 13 blocked shots.
TO THE POINT: NKU junior point guard Sean Rowland, who fired a perfect pass to Brian Lewin for the winning basket last Saturday, leads the team with 41 assists. Rowland also averages 5.0 rebounds per game, which ranks No. 2 on the team.
ABOUT CENTRAL STATE: The Marauders enter Wednesdays game with a 3-4 record. Sophomore guard Brandon Smith averages 14.9 ppg and is Central State's top scorer. Junior forward Adam Ellis is scoring 14.0 ppg, and junior center Marcus Banta averages 12.3 ppg.
THE LAST TIME AGAINST CENTRAL STATE: On Nov. 17, 2001, Bobby St-Preux scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds as NKU defeated Central State, 106-85, in the championship game of the John L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic. St-Preux made 8-of-11 shots from the field and earned tournament most valuable player honors. He scored 10 points in the first half as the Norse built a 43-37 lead.
After Central State opened the second half with a pair of three-pointers to tie the score at 43, Craig Sanders scored six of the next eight points for NKU to give the Norse a 51-46 lead. NKU shot 76.7 percent from the field in the second half and coasted to the tournament championship.
Sanders finished with 20 points and also earned all-tournament honors. NKUs Carl Mitchell added 17 points, two blocked shots and four steals and was named the tournament's best defensive player.
Brenden Stowers (17 points) and Mike Kelsey (12 points) also scored in double figures for NKU. The Norse won the rebounding battle by a 42-24 margin and made 68.5 percent of their shots from the field. Rodney Jones and Ron Driver both scored 21 points to lead Central State.
NKU leads the all-time series with Central State, 11-6.