Feb. 11, 2002
NORSE FACE TOUGH ROAD TRIP
NKU to meet Bellarmine, No. 1 Kentucky Wesleyan
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - The Northern Kentucky University mens basketball team is 16-6 after defeating the University of Indianapolis, 80-61, on Saturday. The Norse are 12-4 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference and in second place in the league standings.
NKU will travel to Louisville, Ky., this Thursday night to meet Bellarmine University at 8 p.m. in Knights Hall. The Norse also play a road game this Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. against Kentucky Wesleyan College - the nations top-ranked team in the NCAA Division II poll - at the Owensboro Sportscenter.
Craig Sanders scored 32 points Saturday night to lead the Norse past Indianapolis. Sanders, who extended his school-record streak of games in double figures to 42, connected on four three-point field goals in the first 20 minutes. It also marked the fourth time this season Sanders has scored at least 30 points in a game.
Carl Mitchell scored 10 of his 11 points in the first half and grabbed nine of his game-high 11 rebounds before halftime. Brenden Stowers finished with 15 points and four assists for the Norse. Stowers has now scored in double figures in 10 consecutive games.
SANDERS CLOSES IN ON SCORING RECORD: Sanders now has 1,897 career points and needs 84 points to become NKUs all-time leading scorer. Brady Jackson is currently No. 1 in Norse history with 1,980 points.
SHIELDS RETURNS WITH A VICTORY: NKU head coach Ken Shields, who had back surgery two weeks ago, returned to the sideline Saturday night. Shields had missed the previous five games.
ABOUT BELLARMINE: The Knights are 11-12 after posting a 90-74 road win at Saint Josephs College on Saturday. The Knights are 8-9 in the GLVC and need just one victory to clinch a spot in the upcoming GLVC Tournament.
Bellarmine is led by senior guard Jared McCurry, who averages 16.8 points per game. McCurry poured in 29 points Saturday to lead Bellarmine past Saint Josephs. Sophomore forward Bruce Johnson averages 13.0 ppg and has made 42 of 99 three-point attempts.
THE LAST TIME AGAINST BELLARMINE: Earlier this season, on Jan. 19, Brenden Stowers scored 18 of his 24 points in the second half as NKU defeated Bellarmine, 76-72, in Regents Hall.
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.
THE STREAK AGAINST BELLARMINE: NKU has beaten Bellarmine 14 consecutive times dating back to the 1993-94 season. Bellarmines last victory against NKU came on Feb. 3, 1994, when the Knights escaped with a 73-72 win in Regents Hall.
Bellarmine has not posted a win against NKU in Knights Hall since the 1991-92 season, when the Knights rallied for a 108-102 overtime victory over the Norse. NKU owns eight straight wins in Knights Hall against Bellarmine.
ABOUT KENTUCKY WESLEYAN: The Panthers are 22-1 overall, 16-1 in the GLVC. Kentucky Wesleyan will play host to the University of Indianapolis on Thursday and can clinch the GLVC regular-season title with a victory.
The Panthers are led by senior forward Ronald Evans, who averages 20.3 ppg and 7.1 rebounds. Senior center/forward Tyrus Boswell is scoring 17.3 ppg and leads the team in rebounding at 8.7 rpg. Boswell has also made 62.5 percent of his shots from the field.
Senior guard Chris Landry averages 15.3 ppg for Kentucky Wesleyan, which has won 34 straight home games going into Thursday nights contest against Indianapolis.
THE LAST TIME AGAINST KENTUCKY WESLEYAN: Earlier this season on Dec. 6, Bobby Zuerner scored 17 points and made two clutch free throws with 4.9 seconds remaining in the game as 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.
The Panthers used the inside attack of Tyrus Boswell (16 points, nine rebounds) and the outside shooting of Zuerner to 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.
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 15 consecutive games to KWC in the Owensboro Sportscenter.
NKU head coach Ken Shields is 0-15 against KWC 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 last season, Northern Michigan (2000) and Ferris State (1998).