The Northern Kentucky University men’s basketball team defeated Lake Erie, 96-73 in their home opener of the John L. Griffin/Lions Club Classic on Nov. 20. Senior guard Scott Bibbins played a large role in the offensive balance against the Storm. Bibbins weaved in and out of the defense with smooth spins and quick-step dribbles to create opportunities for his teammates as he dished out 12 assists on the night. His quickness forced Lake Erie into confusion on the defensive end of the floor. Bibbins also added six points to the Norse’s 23-point victory. The Norse (1-1) had a brilliant first half, scoring 49 points on 54.5 percent shooting from the field. They were 5-5 from the free throw stripe and they shot 61.5 percent from behind the three point line. Superior ball movement was a key element for NKU to jump out to 17 point lead at the half. The Norse had 12 assists to just two turnovers before the break. Senior center David Palmer led all scores with 19 points on 62.5 percent shooting from the field. Palmer went 9-9 from the free throw line and collected four rebounds and three blocks for the Norse. Junior guard Dennis Gagai did not play in the season opener against Grand Valley State due to an undisclosed injury, but he got to see action in the ball game against the Storm. Gagai had an immediate impact when he got on the floor as he netted three 3-pointers in the first half. He finished with 14 points and he connected on 4-5 from beyond the arc. Junior guard Dusting Maguire scored 14 points for the Norse and completed the trio of double digit scorers for the black and gold. Maguire was also 4-5 from three point range, and had three rebounds and one steal in 23 minutes of play. NKU was extremely aggressive on the defensive end of the floor. They caused the Storm to turn it over 11 times and forced them to commit 15 personal fouls. The pressure disrupted the black and green all night long and it never allowed them to get in any offensive rhythm. The Norse will play Christian Brothers in the next round of the Classic at 7:45 p.m. on Nov. 21 at The Bank of Kentucky Center.