Nov. 18, 2002
NKU TO OPEN SEASON AGAINST FINDLAY
Norse to host John L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic this weekend
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - The Northern Kentucky University mens basketball team will begin the 2002-03 season this Friday at 7:45 p.m. by playing host to the University of Findlay in the first round of the John L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic in Regents Hall.
In the other first-round game, Kentucky State University will face Ohio Valley College at 5:30 p.m. The championship game is scheduled for 7:45 p.m. Saturday, and the consolation will be played at 5:30 p.m.
The NKU radio broadcasts can be heard live on WTSJ (AM 1050) this weekend.
NKU posted a 19-8 overall record last season. The Norse finished with a 15-5 record in the Great Lakes Valley Conference and tied Lewis University for second place a year ago.
NKU welcomes back three starters and seven letterwinners from last season. NKUs top returning player is senior guard Brenden Stowers, who earned honorable mention All-GLVC accolades last season after averaging 13.2 points per game. Stowers led NKU in assists (3.3 apg) and steals (2.18 spg) a year ago. He also made 52.3 percent of his field goal attempts last season and scored in double figures 22 times.
Stowers enters his senior season with 810 points, and he is looking to join his father, Jeff Stowers, in the Norses 1,000-point club. Jeff Stowers scored 1,410 career points for NKU from 1972-76 and ranks No. 10 on the Norse all-time scoring list.
Senior forward Bobby St-Preux averaged 11.5 ppg last season, and he ranked No. 2 on the team in rebounding at 5.5 rebounds per game. St-Preux also had 21 blocked shots last season, and he made 57.1 percent of his attempts from the field.
Sophomore guard Mike Kelsey averaged 7.6 ppg last season, and he ranked No. 3 on the team in three-pointers made with 42. The Elder High School graduate scored in double figures in four of his last five games last season, including a career-high 24 points against Bellarmine University.
ABOUT FINDLAY: The Oilers posted a 23-7 record last season and advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament, where they dropped a 94-89 decision to Kentucky Wesleyan in the Great Lakes Region semifinals at Owensboro, Ky.
Findlays top returning player is senior guard Charles Warren, who averaged 12.8 points per game last season. Warren dished out 88 assists a year ago and made 63 of 150 three-point attempts. Warren also connected on 84.1 percent of his free throws in 2001-02.
Junior forward Brad Rethman is back after averaging 8.5 ppg last season. Rethman also averaged 5.5 rebounds per game and shot 53.2 percent from the field. Junior forward Marwan Gaines averaged 7.4 ppg last season, and he made 63.2 percent of his shots from the field.
Findlay played Miami (Ohio) University in an exhibition game last Saturday and dropped a 74-52 decision against the RedHawks. The Oilers were led by freshman guard Dustin Pfeifer, who scored 14 points. Sophomore guard Matt Metzger added 12 points for Findlay in that game.
NKU and Findlay have never met in mens basketball.
FIRST-ROUND STREAK: NKU is 20-0 all-time in the first round of the John L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic. The Norse have captured the tournament championship 12 times and have won the event three straight years.
A YEAR AGO IN THE GRIFFIN/LIONS CLASSIC: Bobby St-Preux scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds as NKU defeated Central State University, 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.
Stowers (17 points) and Mike Kelsey (12 points) also scored in double figures for NKU, which won the rebounding battle by a 42-24 margin and made 68.5 percent of its shots from the field.
NKUS EXHIBITION AGAINST UC: On Nov. 9, Leonard Stokes scored 19 points as the University of Cincinnati defeated NKU, 71-51, in an exhibition game in the Shoemaker Center. Field Williams added 12 points - all on three-point shots - as the Bearcats pulled away from the Norse in front of a crowd of 10,820.
Jason Maxiell added 11 points and nine rebounds for UC, which held NKU to 30.9 percent shooting from the field.
UC jumped out to an early 18-7 lead as Williams drained a pair of three-point shots, and the Bearcats eventually stretched their advantage to 30-16. The Norse rallied behind the shooting of Mike Kelsey, who connected on a trio of three-point shots in the first half and helped NKU cut the deficit to 34-22 at halftime.
UC used a 7-1 run to open the second half for a 41-23 lead, but a pair of baskets by senior forward Quentin Smith pulled NKU to within 41-27. Smith finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots.
UC shot 40 percent from the field and won the rebounding battle by a 43-38 margin. The Bearcats also forced 22 NKU turnovers.
Kelsey led NKU with 19 points, including 5 of 8 from three-point range. Chris Seabrooks and Jesse Rupe both added nine points for the Norse, and Rupe pulled down a team-leading eight rebounds.
IMPACT TRANSFERS: NKU senior forward Quentin Smith, a transfer from Morehead State University, is expected to make an impact this season. While at Morehead State in 1999-2000, Smith averaged 5.2 points and 1.8 rebounds in five games.
Prior to Morehead State, Smith averaged 17.4 points and 8.0 rebounds per game at Cincinnati State in 1998-99. He was named the Region 12 Most Valuable Player in the Ohio Community College Athletic Conference and was a member of the All-Region 12 first team. Smith also scored 1,003 points in two seasons at Cincinnati State.
A 1997 graduate of Mount Healthy High School in Cincinnati, Smith was named to the All-Metro second team in 1997 after averaging 18 points and 11.8 rebounds per game.
The Norse also add 6-10 senior center Chris Seabrooks, who played at the University of Pittsburgh prior to transferring to NKU last year. While at Pitt in 1999-2000, Seabrooks averaged 10.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per game and had 30 blocked shots.
In 2000-01, Seabrooks averaged 6.0 points and 4.7 rebounds in seven games for the Panthers. He also shot 64.3 percent from the field that season. He sat out as a redshirt last year.
NKU PICKED FOURTH IN GLVC PRESEASON POLL: NKU is picked to finish fourth in the GLVC preseason coaches poll.
Defending NCAA Division II national runner-up Kentucky Wesleyan is picked to capture its sixth consecutive GLVC championship. Lewis, which captured the GLVC Tournament title last March, is picked No. 2 in the poll. Southern Indiana is tabbed No. 3, followed by NKU.
UP NEXT: After the John L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic, NKU will travel to Crestview Hills, Ky., on Nov. 27 for a 7:30 p.m. Thanksgiving Eve game at Thomas More College.
NKU - which posted a 95-50 win over the Saints last year - leads the all-time series with Thomas More, 25-5.
The Norse own 16 consecutive victories over the Division III Saints. NKU has not lost to Thomas More since the 1980-81 season, when the Saints defeated the Norse by a 61-52 score in Regents Hall.