Kevin Schappell came off the bench to score 24 points on 8-13 shooting including 5-8 from three point range and Kevin Reinhardt chipped in 17 points and 11 rebounds as the Norse (5-0, 2-0) welcomed Drury (4-2, 1-1) to the GLVC with a 64-46 victory at Regents Hall.
It proved to be a long day for Drury head coach Steve Hesser when he was forced to call a timeout one minute into the game with NKU getting two fast break lay-ups by Gavin Ludgood and Kevin Reinhardt. The game didn’t get any more favorable for the Panthers or Hesser from there. Northern Kentucky University dominated the first half with tough defense and used poor shooting by Drury to build a big halftime lead that they would not surrender. NKU held Drury to just 27 percent shooting in the first half and forced 11 turnovers.
Drury came into the game averaging 74 points per game and were only able to manage 46 points against a stingy NKU defense. Drury shot only 33 percent from the field for the game and 13 percent from three point range. The Panthers had just one player in double figures, Brandon Kimbrough with 10 points. Collins Harris, Drury forward, added nine points in the losing effort. NKU countered with three players in double figures, Schappell, Reinhardt and Ludgood to remain perfect on the season. This was the first ever meeting between these two schools, but with Drury joining the GLVC conference; it won’t be the last time these schools square off.
The game remained close until about the 5:56 mark in the first half in which NKU utilized a 10-2 scoring run and a 14-5 scoring run to end the half. That was the comfort zone NKU needed to secure the game. Drury only had the lead in the game once, very early in the contest controlled by the Norse.
Drury made a few runs in the second half, but NKU was able to answer each one and keep the game out of reach. At the 8:00 mark in the second half, Drury cut the NKU lead to 13 points, but that was as close as they would come in the second half. The Norse shot over 40 percent from the field for the game and 88 percent from the free throw line. NKU scored 21 of its 64 points from the charity stripe.
The Panthers bring more athleticism to an already competitive GLVC conference, but were out muscled inside by the Norse and had no answer to the inside outside game NKU showed them. The Panthers battled all game with the Norse, but could not take control of the game allowing the Norse to cruise to their fifth victory of the young season. With the victory, NKU keeps pace with St. Joseph’s, Kentucky Wesleyan, and Indianapolis in the GLVC East division. NKU has a pair of big games coming up this week against Indianapolis and St. Joseph’s on the road. The Norse hit the road hard in the coming weeks with four straight road games including a rematch with Grand Valley State, a 73-63 victory in game three and a rare game against Division I opponent Brigham Young. The next home game for the Norse is Dec. 23 against Thomas More.