Norse win completes sweep


Mike Kelsey scored 28 points on 50 percent shooting as the Norse (10-11, 6-9) completed the season sweep of Kentucky Wesleyan (13-8, 8-7), defeating the Panthers 73-66 in a hard-nosed, physical game at Regents Hall Feb. 5.

It would have been easy for Kentucky Wesleyan to roll over and just hand the Norse the victory with all the problems they have had. The Panthers are not eligible for postseason play because of conference sanctions. The Northern Kentucky University student section had fun with that by creating T-shirts suggesting the Panthers watch the Norse in the postseason. They were also without their second leading scorer, who is ineligible for the second semester. Despite these problems, the Panthers put up quite a fight that led to a good game for the 1,317 in attendance, including a very loud and rambunctious Panther cheering section. It was the type of hard-fought game that you would expect from a Kentucky Wesleyan-Northern Kentucky game.

The game was a see-saw battle that had 13 lead changes and 10 ties. The Norse had three players in double figures led by Kelsey’s 28. The Panthers also had three players in double figures led by Franklyn Ferguson’s 16. The 6-foot-6 center got into some foul trouble aiding NKU’s victory.

In the first half, it was the Kelsey show. Kelsey hit five three pointers, scoring all of his first half points from behind the perimeter, mostly off of picks set to spring him open. Kentucky Wesleyan countered Kelsey’s effort with balanced scoring and second-chance points. At the half, after 10 lead changes, Kentucky Wesleyan led 31-30.

The second half opened with the score staying close. Neither team could find the answer to put the other away. The teams stayed within a few points of each other until 2:33 left in the game when Kelsey and Courtney Fergerson hit back to back three pointers to open the game up. The Norse won the game despite being outscored from the free throw line 17-5. The Norse did not attempt a free throw in the first half and their first one didn’t come until the 13:36 mark in the second half. The Panthers shot 13 more free throws than the Norse did.

The Norse held the Panthers to 39 percent shooting and just 29 percent from three point range. NKU shot 50 percent from the field and 46 percent from three point range in the victory.

With the win, the Norse are within one game of evening their record at 11-11. NKU is currently seventh in the GLVC. They snapped Kentucky Wesleyan’s three game winning streak at Regents Hall. Kentucky Wesleyan still leads the overall series 42-20. NKU improved to 7-4 at home this season, but are just 3-4 in the GLVC at home. NKU has a week off before hosting third place Indianapolis for the Homecoming game.

At halftime of the men’s game, NKU inducted members into the NKU Athletics Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees are Diane Redmond, J.T. Roberts, Amy Flaugher, Tim Grogan, Nancy Berger, Paul Cluxton, John Toebben and the 2000 NCAA Division II women’s basketball national championship basketball team. These members each received a plaque and were honored in a ceremony Feb. 4.