Norse lose lead, fall to Quincy


QUINCY, Ill. – With less than six minutes to go in the game, it looked like Northern Kentucky University was going to cruise past Quincy for an important road victory Jan. 29.

The Norse held a 64-52 lead with 5:26 remaining, and NKU was rolling. Mike Kelsey had lit up the Quincy defense with his long-range shooting, and NKU had contained the Hawks defensively most of the game.

All of that changed in a hurry during the final two minutes.

Four missed free throws and a turnover hurt NKU, as did a pair of unlikely three-pointers from a 6-foot-9 post player who was shooting less than 20 percent from long range going into the Jan. 29 game. The result was an amazing 75-74 come-from-behind victory for Quincy at the Pepsi Arena.

And it all came down to a wild, dramatic finish in the closing seconds.

After Cory Cummens made one of two free throws with 10.1 seconds left to cut the Norse lead to 74-73, NKU inbounded the basketball. Sean Rowland’s pass in the backcourt was stolen, however, and Jordan Roth drove in for an uncontested layup to give Quincy a 75-74 lead with 4.7 seconds left.

NKU had a final chance, but Kelsey’s jumper was off target at the buzzer. Quincy scored 15 points in the final 1:49 of the game to pull out the improbable victory.

“We find ways not to finish off games, and that’s exactly what happened to us again,” NKU head coach Dave Bezold said. “You have to hit free throws late in the game, and you have to take care of the basketball. Except for our first game of the season (against Michigan Tech), we have not proven we can win in this kind of situation.”

Kelsey led NKU (9-10 overall, 5-8 Great Lakes Valley Conference) with 29 points, and the senior guard made seven three-point shots. He scored 15 points in the first half as NKU built a 40-33 lead at the break.

The Norse – who shot 61.9 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes – pulled away in the second half and held a 64-52 lead with 5:26 left in the game. Quincy, however, used an 8-0 run to get within 64-60 with 2:36 left.

Phil Gettinger – who had made just two three-pointers all season prior to Saturday – drained a pair of treys in the final 44 seconds to keep Quincy within striking distance. He entered the game shooting 18 percent from behind the arc.

Gettinger led Quincy (12-7 overall, 8-5 GLVC) with 19 points, including eight in the final minute. Cummens finished with 17 points, and Roth scored 16.

Kelsey was the lone double-figure scorer for NKU, which finished at 42.3 percent from the field. Rowland had nine points and nine assists for the Norse, while Pat Cary added eight points.

NKU will play host to Southern Indiana at 7:45 p.m. Feb. 3 in Regents Hall. The Norse dropped an 87-82 overtime decision to the Screaming Eagles on Jan. 8 at Evansville, Ind.

*Article by Sports Information