Jan. 6, 2003
NKU SET FOR SHOWDOWN WITH LEWIS
Norse to battle Flyers for first place in GLVC standings
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - The Northern Kentucky University mens basketball team will meet Lewis University in a battle for first place in the Great Lakes Valley Conference this Thursday night at 7:45 p.m. in Regents Hall.
NKU enters Thursdays showdown against Lewis with an 11-2 overall record, 5-1 in the GLVC. Lewis - which has won nine consecutive games - is 11-1 overall, 5-1 in the GLVC. The two teams are tied for first place in the GLVC standings.
NKU is ranked No. 12 nationally in the latest NCAA Division II poll, while Lewis is rated No. 14 in the nation.
The Norse will also play host to Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville at 3:15 p.m. Saturday in Regents Hall. The broadcasts of both games can be heard live on WTSJ (1050 AM).
STIRRING COMEBACK: Jesse Rupes rebound basket with 4.8 seconds remaining in the game Saturday gave NKU a 100-99 win over Saint Josephs College at the Scharf Alumni Fieldhouse.
Brenden Stowers scored a career-high 35 points as NKU rallied from an 18-point deficit in the second half to post the victory. With 10 seconds remaining in the game and Saint Josephs holding a 99-98 lead, Stowers missed a pair of free throws. Rupe, however, chased down the offensive rebound and hit a short jumper to give the Norse a 100-99 advantage with 4.8 seconds left.
Hodges Smith - who scored 34 points to lead Saint Josephs - had a final shot to win the game for the Pumas, but his three-point attempt was off target at the buzzer. Stowers, who also scored his 1,000th career point Saturday, made 15 of 20 free throws and connected on four three-point shots. He also had three assists and four steals.
Saint Josephs began the second half with an 18-6 run to build a 63-45 lead with 14:31 remaining in the game. Stowers and Mike Kelsey (24 points), however, keyed a 22-12 NKU spurt that sliced the deficit to 75-67 with 8:09 left.
Bobby St-Preux finished with 14 points for NKU, which had lost in its previous two trips to Rensselaer, Ind. Chris Seabrooks added 12 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots for NKU.
STOWERS JOINS 1,000-POINT CLUB: NKU senior guard Brenden Stowers joined the 1,000-point club Saturday during the Norses win at against Saint Josephs. Stowers, who leads NKU in scoring at 14.8 points per game, currently has 1,002 career points.
Stowers joins his father, Jeff Stowers, as the only father-son combination in the NKU 1,000-point club. Jeff Stowers, who is a member of NKUs Athletics Hall of Fame, scored 1,410 career points for the Norse from 1972-76.
KELSEY HAS BIG ROAD TRIP: NKU sophomore guard Mike Kelsey, who averages 13.7 ppg, finished with 24 points in the comeback win over Saint Josephs. Kelsey also scored 18 points in the Norses 73-72 loss at the University of Indianapolis last Thursday.
He leads NKU in three-pointers made with 33, and he is shooting 91.7 percent from the free throw line. Kelsey has also scored in double figures the past five games.
ST-PREUX TOUGH IN THE CLUTCH: NKU senior forward Bobby St-Preux played a big role in the Norses win at Saint Josephs on Saturday with 14 points - including a perfect 6 of 6 from the free throw line. St-Preux has scored in double figures in seven of the past eight games. He is also averaging 7.0 rebounds per contest in the last three games.
ABOUT LEWIS: The Flyers (11-1) have won nine consecutive games and are tied with NKU for first place in the GLVC with a 5-1 record. Lewis features junior forward Monta McGhee, who averages 17.5 ppg and 7.8 rebounds per contest. McGhee also has a team-leading 15 blocked shots, and he has made 87.0 percent of his free throws.
Junior forward/center Austin Real averages 11.6 ppg and 5.4 rebounds, while senior guard Harley Piercy is scoring 10.8 ppg. Junior post player Sidney Holmes leads the team in rebounding at 9.8 rpg, and he is scoring 10.4 ppg.
THE LAST TIME AGAINST LEWIS: On Feb. 2, 2002, Craig Sanders scored 16 points as NKU defeated Lewis, 72-67, in Regents Hall.
After Brenden Stowers made a pair of free throws with 16 seconds remaining to give the Norse a 69-65 lead, Sanders added a free throw with seven seconds left to extend NKUs advantage to 70-65. He sealed the victory by rebounding his missed free throw and hitting a short jumper.
After Sanders basket gave NKU a 72-65 lead, Sammy Bacino made a layup at the buzzer to account for the final margin. Bacino scored 18 points to lead Lewis, which has not won in Regents Hall since the 1992-93 season. Phil Taylor added 15 points for the Flyers.
Stowers added 14 points and four assists for NKU, which made 85.7 percent of its free throws.
In their first meeting of last season at Romeoville, Ill., Sanders scored 22 points as NKU rallied from a 20-point deficit to defeat Lewis, 88-73, in the Neil Carey Arena. Bobby St-Preux added 17 points for the Norse. Lewis built a 42-22 lead with 4:58 remaining in the first half, but NKU sliced the deficit to 13 points (46-33) at halftime.
In the second half, NKU shot 69.6 percent from the field and held Lewis to just 28.6 percent shooting. Sanders led the comeback with 16 points during the second-half run. Brenden Stowers scored 16 points and had three assists for NKU, while Carl Mitchell added 14 points and two blocked shots. NKU converted 27 of 35 free throws and committed just nine turnovers.
ABOUT SIUE: The Cougars, who will play at Bellarmine on Thursday before facing NKU, own a 5-6 overall record. SIUE is 1-4 in the GLVC.
SIUE is led by junior guard Ron Jones, who averages 14.8 ppg. Senior forward Ron Heflin is scoring 12.6 ppg for the Cougars.
THE STREAK AGAINST SIUE: NKU owns 13 consecutive victories against SIUE going into Saturdays game. NKU has not lost to SIUE since the 1991-92 season, when the Cougars posted a 97-90 win against the Norse in Edwardsville, Ill.
NKU posted two wins against the Cougars last season, taking a 90-62 decision at Edwardsville, Ill., and later completing the sweep with a 90-55 victory at Highland Heights, Ky.