Nov. 6, 2004
NORSE TO MEET UC, OHIO STATE THIS WEEK
NKU visits Cincinnati at 7 p.m. Monday
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - The Northern Kentucky University mens basketball team will travel across the Ohio River to meet the University of Cincinnati at 7 p.m. Monday in an exhibition game at the Fifth Third Arena at Shoemaker Center.
The following night, the Norse will play a 7 p.m. exhibition game at Ohio State University at Columbus, Ohio. Both games can be heard on the radio on WIOK (107.5 FM).
NKU opened its exhibition schedule last Wednesday night with a 91-73 loss at the University of Kentucky. The Norse led by as many as eight points (20-12) in the first half, but UK used a 15-0 run to take a 27-20 advantage. NKU trailed by just a 41-38 margin at halftime as senior guard Mike Kelsey scored 18 of his game-high 27 points in the first half.
NKU used 7-for-12 shooting (58.3 percent) from three-point range in the first half to stay in the game.
In the second half, UK forced 17 turnovers with its full-court pressure. Kelsey hit a three-pointer at the 12:44 mark to bring NKU within 51-49, but UK used a 14-2 run to build a 65-51 advantage with 8:56 left.
After a tip-in by Tory Reed cut UK's lead to 69-57 with 7:22 remaining, NKU committed six turnovers against the Wildcat full-court press during the next three minutes. Several times, the Norse were unable to get the ball across midcourt.
Kelenna Azubuike scored 26 points to lead UK, which made 60.5 percent of its shots from the field in the second half. Rajon Rondo finished with 16 points for the Wildcats, and Chuck Hayes added 15 points.
Reed scored 12 points in his NKU debut, while Brian Lewin added 11 points. The Norse finished 11-for-19 from three-point range, with Kelsey going 7-for-10 from downtown.
The crowd of 18,824 in Rupp Arena last Wednesday was the largest to ever watch an NKU sporting event in person. The previous NKU record was 10,836 on Dec. 2, 1993, when the Norse played at the University of Dayton and suffered a 99-82 setback against the Flyers.
NKU AGAINST DIVISION I OPPONENTS: NKU has not played a regular-season game against a Division I opponent since the 1994-95 campaign, when the Norse dropped an 85-63 decision at the University of Toledo.
The past three years, NKU has played the University of Cincinnati in exhibition games at Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bearcats defeated NKU in each of those games, including a 61-48 decision last season.
THE SERIES AGAINST UC: NKU and UC met seven times in regular-season contests from 1981-1988, and the Bearcats hold a 7-0 lead against the Norse in the all-time series.
After the 1988-89 season, however, UC dropped the series against NKU to boost its strength of schedule. The Bearcats do not play non-Division I opponents in the regular season because of the RPI ratings that help determine NCAA Tournament berths.
NKU and Ohio State have never met in mens basketball.
LAST SEASONS EXHIBITION AGAINST UC: On Nov. 1, 2003, Kareem Johnson scored nine of his 11 points in the second half as Cincinnati rallied to defeat NKU, 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.
Robert Whaley led UC 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.
NKU BEGINS REGULAR SEASON NOV. 19: NKU begins the regular season Nov. 19 in the annual John L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic with a 7:45 p.m. game against Michigan Tech University in Regents Hall.
NKU will then play Northern Michigan University at 7:45 p.m. the following night (Nov. 20). The pairings for the event were predetermined this season, switching from the traditional tournament format. Christian Brothers (Tenn.) University, the fourth team in the event, will meet Northern Michigan at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 19 and Michigan Tech at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 20.