Norse pounce on Cougars 87-41

The Northern Kentucky University Men’s Basketball team easily handled the UC-Clermont Cougars in an 87-41 win to wrap up the John L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic at the Bank of Kentucky Center Nov. 22.

The Norse (3-0) took a 10-8 lead with about 15 minutes remaining in the first half off a Scott Bibbins three-pointer and never trailed UC-Clermont (1-4) again.

The mismatch was apparent early in the game when senior forwards DeAaron Williams and A’Daeron Duncan provided an aerial show for the crowd of 2,083.

After missing an alley-oop, Williams drove to hole from the right side and finished a two-handed dunk with authority. Duncan answered Williams with a spectacular windmill dunk on a breakaway just a few minutes later.

Sophomore guard Dustin Maguire lead the Norse with 16 points and two blocks on the night. After the game, he was named the Most Outstanding Performer of the classic.

The Norse dominated the Cougars defensively, holding them to just 32.1 percent shooting from the field. For the most part, the Cougars struggled to move the ball into the paint and at one point were charged with a shot-clock violation due to the smothering Norse defense.

The Norse also capitalized on a lopsided turnover ratio, scoring 27 points to the Cougars’ four on second chance attempts. NKU ended the night with 55 total rebounds to UC-Clermont’s 27.

“I was pleased with our 40 minute effort tonight,” NKU coach Dave Bezold told NKU sports information. “I was very happy with the intensity. We didn’t shoot great, but when you have the intensity, which is the only thing you can control, it will help on those nights when you’re not shooting extremely well.”

The Norse went into halftime up 38-20 on the Cougars. NKU came out firing in the second half to put the lead even farther out of reach. Scott Bibbins connected with DeAaron Williams on alley-oop to start a 25-5 run.

Although the Norse did not shoot very well, only going 43.2 percent from the field in the second half, they dominated the boards, outrebounding UC-Clermont 30-15 in the final 20 minutes of the game. 11 of those rebounds came offensively, while UC-Clermont only had two offensive rebounds in the second half.

NKU will face Saginaw Valley State at 7:45 p.m. Nov. 24 at the BOKC. Tickets are free for students with their All-Card at the box office.