Jan. 15, 2001

NKU PREPARES FOR BELLARMINE, KWC

Norse (14-2) now ranked No. 7 in national poll

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - The Northern Kentucky University men’s basketball team is 14-2 after suffering an 83-79 loss at Saint Joseph’s College on Saturday. The Norse, ranked No. 7 nationally in the Division II poll, are 5-2 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference and in third place in the league standings.

NKU will play host to a pair of GLVC contests this week, beginning with a 7:45 p.m. Thursday game against Bellarmine University. NKU will host No. 3 Kentucky Wesleyan College at 3:15 p.m. Saturday in Regents Hall.

Marvin Smith scored 10 of his 13 points Saturday in the second half - including a game-clinching layup with five seconds remaining - as Saint Joseph’s upset NKU. The Pumas held an 80-73 lead with 1:49 remaining in the game, but NKU responded with consecutive three-pointers by Craig Sanders and Todd Clark to cut the deficit to 80-79.

In the final seconds of regulation, NKU one last chance to tie or take the lead. Smith, however, picked up a steal and scored on a layup with five seconds remaining to give the Pumas an 83-79 lead and their first win against NKU since 1994.

REGENTS HALL STREAK: NKU enters Thursday night with a 23-game winning streak in Regents Hall. The last team to beat NKU in Regents Hall was the University of Indianapolis, which posted an 81-71 victory over the Norse on Feb. 9, 1999.

MITCHELL REMAINS TORRID: NKU junior forward Carl Mitchell scored in double figures for the ninth straight game Saturday with 19 points. Mitchell, NKU’s sixth man, averages 14.8 points per game and 7.1 rebounds. He also leads NKU with 25 blocked shots.

CONLEY MOVES UP TO NO. 3 IN ASSISTS: NKU senior guard Craig Conley now has 421 career assists, which ranks No. 3 in Norse history. NKU’s all-time leader in career assists is Shannon Minor, who recorded 529 from 1993-97.

Conley also has scored 1,261 career points, which is No. 13 in NKU history. He needs 15 points to move into 12th place ahead of former Norse standout Dan Fleming, who was Conley’s prep coach at LaSalle High School in Cincinnati.

LAWHON NO. 2 IN THREE-POINTERS MADE: NKU senior guard Brian Lawhon has made 247 three-point shots in his career, which ranks No. 2 in Norse history. Paul Cluxton is No. 1 with 303 career three-pointers, followed by Lawhon (247), Ryan Schrand (238) and Shannon Minor (228).

ABOUT BELLARMINE: The Knights are 8-5 after defeating Wisconsin-Parkside, 69-62, last Saturday at Kenosha, Wis. Bellarmine is tied with NKU for third place in the GLVC standings with a 5-2 record.

The Knights are led by junior guard Jared McCurry, who averages 18.2 ppg. McCurry has also made 15 of 34 three-point attempts. Sophomore forward Justin Cornell averages 12.8 ppg, and sophomore forward Adam Etienne is scoring 11.8 ppg. Etienne also leads Bellarmine in rebounding with 6.8 rebounds per game.

THE LAST TIME AGAINST BELLARMINE: On Jan. 8, 2000, Brian Lawhon scored 21 points as NKU rallied to defeat Bellarmine, 96-83, in Regents Hall. Lawhon made 7 of 8 shots from the field, including all four of his three-point attempts, as NKU rallied from a 47-42 halftime deficit. The Norse shot 69 percent from the field in the second half.

Craig Sanders scored 18 points for the Norse, and Craig Conley added 14 points. Billy Brewster scored 12 points for NKU, and Adam Norwell came off the bench to add 10 points and six rebounds.

STREAK AGAINST BELLARMINE: NKU enters Thursday with an 11-game winning streak against Bellarmine. Bellarmine’s last victory against NKU came on Feb. 3, 1994, when the Knights escaped with a 73-72 win in Regents Hall. Steve Mercer’s layup with one second remaining gave Bellarmine the victory in that game.