Aug. 31, 2004
NORSE TO MEET BASKETBALL POWERS
NKU faces UK, Cincinnati and Ohio State in exhibitions to start 2004-05
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - No college basketball team in America will face a more difficult exhibition schedule than Northern Kentucky University in 2004-05.
One evening its the University of Kentucky in Rupp Arena. Five nights later, it will be the University Cincinnati at Fifth Third Arena at Shoemaker Center. And, 24 hours later, to cap off the exhibition schedule, the Norse will travel to Columbus, Ohio, to meet Ohio State University.
Thats what Dave Bezold will be facing in his first year as NKUs head coach. Bezold, however, is excited about the opportunity that awaits his Norse.
When you talk about Kentucky, Cincinnati and Ohio State, youre speaking about three of the most tradition-rich basketball programs in the nation, and I know these exhibitions are going to help get our team prepared for the regular season, Bezold said. I know Kentucky and Cincinnati both have powerful teams returning, and Ohio State is going to be improved this season as well.
Its a tough way to start off, but they are exhibitions and it will be great exposure for Northern Kentucky University.
NKU will meet Kentucky on Nov. 3 in the first meeting ever between the two schools in mens basketball. Kentucky posted a 27-5 record last season and won the Southeastern Conference championship.
On Nov. 8, the Norse will meet Cincinnati (25-7 last season), and NKU will conclude the exhibitions the next night at Ohio State (14-16 last season).
NKU begins the regular season Nov. 19 against Michigan Tech University in the opening round of the John L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic in Regents Hall. The following evening, NKU meets Northern Michigan University in the round-robin event.
Michigan Tech posted a 22-8 record last season and advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament. Northern Michigan finished with a 16-12 mark in 2003-04. Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan are both members of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
I was at the NCAA Tournament last March and had a chance to watch Michigan Tech, and they have a great team returning, Bezold said. Northern Michigan is another tough team, and these are really important games because they play in the GLIAC.
In addition, NKU will play road games at both Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan in late December.
NKU begins Great Lakes Valley Conference action Nov. 26 with a road game at Kentucky Wesleyan College. The Norse will also play at Bellarmine University on Nov. 28, before completing the four-game road trip with stops at the University of Indianapolis (Dec. 2) and Saint Josephs College (Dec. 4).
Lewis University will visit Regents Hall on Dec. 9 for NKUs GLVC home opener.
The Norse will meet defending NCAA Division II national runner-up University of Southern Indiana on Jan. 8 at Evansville, Ind. Southern Indiana visits Regents Hall on Feb. 3.
NKU welcomes back four starters from last seasons 16-15 team. Senior guard Mike Kelsey averaged 16.9 points per game and is the Norses top returnee. NKU also returns senior guard Steve Purdon, who averaged 10.7 ppg last season.
Bezold added several impact players, including a pair of Division I transfers from Conference USA schools.
Tory Reed, a 6-foot-8 center, averaged 3.6 ppg and 3.7 rebounds at Charlotte two years ago. He also scored 13 points against Cincinnati that season.
Bryant Northern, a 6-1 guard, averaged 3.2 ppg and made 93.3 percent of his free throws at Louisville two seasons ago. Northern scored 18 points against Ohio State during the 2002-03 season.
NKU also signed 6-4 freshman forward Harrison Morton from Lexington Catholic High School. Morton averaged 16.1 ppg, 6.4 rebounds and 2.5 steals as a senior at Lexington Catholic, and he was named first team all-state. Morton was also selected to play in the Kentucky-Indiana all-star series this summer.