Nov. 16, 1999
NKU BEGINS 1999-2000 SEASON THIS FRIDAY
Norse to play Thomas More in John L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - The Northern Kentucky University mens basketball team, which posted a 16-12 record a year ago, will open up the 1999-2000 season this Friday in the annual John L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic in Regents Hall. NKU will face Thomas More College (12-11 a year ago) at 7:45 p.m. Friday night.
In the other first-round matchup on Friday, Saint Michaels (Vt.) College (25-9) plays University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (15-11) at 5:30 p.m.
NKU RANKED NO. 6: NKU is ranked No. 6 nationally in the Division II Bulletin preseason NCAA II Top 25 poll. The Norse return four starters from last season, but they also add key redshirts Kevin Listerman and Scott Marston to the lineup. NKU also welcomes a recruiting class that features transfers Zach Wieber and Billy Brewster. Wieber, a 6-foot-9 center, averaged 11 points at Ashland University in 1996-97, and Brewster, a 6-7 forward, averaged 27 points and 14 rebounds at Cisco (Texas) Junior College two years ago.
A YEAR AGO IN THE LIONS CLUB CLASSIC: Central State defeated NKU in the championship game, 86-82. Tournament most valuable player John Hester scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead Central State to the win. Craig Sanders poured in 31 points to lead NKU in defeat. It was the second straight year NKU had lost in the finals of the John L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic. The previous season, California (Pa.) edged NKU, 75-74.
NKU VS. THOMAS MORE: NKU holds a 22-5 lead in the all-time series with Thomas More. The Norse faced Thomas More in the first round of the John L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic last year, and NKU posted a 73-63 victory against the Saints. NKU has not lost to the Saints since the 1980-81 season, when Thomas More defeated the Norse by a 61-52 score in Regents Hall.
TALENTED BACKCOURT: NKU welcomes back junior guard Craig Conley, who earned second team All-GLVC honors last season. Conley averaged 15.7 points per game and led NKU in assists with 107. He also had 55 steals and made 76.4 percent of his free throws. Also returning after sitting out as a redshirt last season is senior point guard Kevin Listerman, who was a second team All-GLVC selection two years ago. Listerman averaged 8.7 ppg and was the team leader in both assists (157) and steals (72) in 1997-98.
Junior guard Brian Lawhon averaged 12.7 ppg and made 83 of 178 three-point attempts last season. Sophomore Brian Schaefer averaged 4.5 ppg and dished out 43 assists a year ago. Freshman guard Brenden Stowers has been outstanding in the preseason and will also contribute this season.
ABOUT SAINT MICHAELS: The Purple Knights posted a 25-9 record a year ago and qualified for the NCAA Division II Tournament. SMC returns three starters and seven letterwinners.
The top returnee for SMC is 6-8 junior forward Todd Roberts, who averaged 15.9 ppg and 7.0 rpg. Roberts also connected on 84 three-pointers last season. Junior guard/forward Mark Pater averaged 10.9 ppg, and junior guard Brian Miles scored 7.4 ppg.
ABOUT WISCONSIN-STEVENS POINTS: The Pointers, who compete in NCAA Division III, were 15-11 last season. They return four starters from that team and add Division I transfer Brent Larsen from Central Michigan to anchor the backcourt.
Senior forward Brant Bailey averaged 17.8 ppg and 5.3 rebounds for UWSP last season. He also made 55.3 percent of his shots from the field. Senior forward Gabe Frank averaged 10 ppg last season and also returns.
ABOUT THOMAS MORE: The Saints finished 12-11 last season and lost all five starters from that team. The top returnee is senior guard Joseph McClain, who averaged 8.3 ppg and 2.2 rebounds last season.
Returning lettermen who could play key roles are Chris Dittman, Michael McClurg, Mike Topmiller and Corey Grace.