Nov. 1, 2003

UC RALLIES TO DEFEAT NKU, 61-48

Schappell gets double-double for NKU

CINCINNATI - Kareem Johnson scored nine of his 11 points in the second half Saturday night as the University of Cincinnati rallied to defeat Northern Kentucky University, 61-48, in an exhibition game at the Fifth Third Arena.

Johnson also grabbed 10 rebounds and keyed an 8-0 run to start the second half as the Bearcats turned a 22-21 halftime deficit into a 29-22 lead. Johnson’s rebound basket early in the second half gave UC a 23-22 lead, and he added a tip-in on the next possession to extend the Bearcats’ advantage to 25-22.

Armein Kirkland capped the 8-0 run with a pair of jump shots to give UC a 29-22 advantage, and the Bearcats used a 59-42 rebounding edge to hold off NKU. UC led by as many as 19 points in the second half and defeated the Norse in front of a crowd of 9,526.

Mike Kelsey scored 10 of his game-high 15 points in the first half as NKU took a 22-21 lead at the break. The Norse shot just 25.7 percent from the field in the first half, but UC connected on only 23.7 percent of its shots from the floor in the first 20 minutes.

Freshman guard Kevin Schappell came off the bench and added a double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds) for NKU, while teammate Jesse Rupe finished with 12 points and seven rebounds. The Norse made just 5 of 29 three-point attempts and shot 23.2 percent from the field for the game.

Robert Whaley led UC - ranked No. 19 nationally in the USA Today/ESPN poll - with 13 points and 12 rebounds, and Jason Maxiell added 12 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots. The taller Bearcats finished with 12 blocks, including four rejections by Johnson.

UC shot 45.7 percent from the field in the second half and finished at 34.2 percent for the game. Both teams committed 14 turnovers.

Before the game, UC head coach Bob Huggins recognized NKU’s Ken Shields in a brief ceremony to honor the Norse mentor who will retire after the 2003-04 season. Shields received a standing ovation from the Bearcat fans and a sweater from Huggins.

“It was a thrill to see more than 9,000 fans on their feet for a visiting guy from across the river,” Shields said. “It was really special.”

NKU will open the regular season against Kennesaw (Ga.) State University next Friday (Nov. 7) at 8:30 p.m. at the Disney Division II Tip-Off Classic at Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

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Kevin Schappell