Norse set to face No. 4 Ohio State Saturday

The Northern Kentucky University men’s basketball team will travel north to play nationally ranked Ohio State University this Saturday at 4 p.m.
The Norse are going to approach this game like any other game, according to Ethan Faulkner, senior point guard, physical education major.

“They are going to look at us like we don’t have a chance to win this game,” Faulkner said “If we couldn’t go out there and compete we wouldn’t play them and our coaches wouldn’t have put them on the roster. We’re going to play hard.”

The Buckeyes are 4-0 on the season and are currently ranked No. 4 in the country by the Associated Press. Before they match up against the Norse, the Buckeyes will travel on the road to play No. 2 Duke University on Nov. 28.

“We have premiere programs in the nation to play,” David Bezold, men’s basketball head coach, said. “It’s a great learning experience and we’re excited about taking it on. We have to prove that we can do it.”

Through the first four games, the Buckeyes have been led by the three returning starters from last year’s FInal Four team. Junior forward Deshaun Thomas leads the way averaging 24.0 points per game as well as 7.3 rebounds per game. Junior guards Aaron Craft (14.3) and Lenzelle Smith Jr. (11.5) also average in double figures.

The game will be airing on the Big Ten Network, and it is the first game the Norse have ever played against a Big Ten team in the regular season. NKU’s men’s program has met with the Ohio State Buckeyes one time before in an exhibition game in 2004. The Buckeyes won 77-67.

“There is pressure for our team,” Bezold said. “It isn’t about the TV or who we’re playing. I think it’s because they want to do so well. They want so badly to win.”
NKU comes into the game still looking for its first win as a Division I program as the Norse are currently 0-4 on the season. All of the games were part of the National Urea Cycle Disorders Foundation Challenge hosted by San Diego University. Senior guard Eshaunte Jones leads the team in scoring, averaging 15.8 points per game.
The team has already begun watching tape on Ohio State and will continue to watch it as the week progresses.

“I don’t think we have anything to lose to be honest with you,” Faulkner said. “We are going up there and no one expects us to win outside of the people in our locker room. They go from playing Duke to NKU, all the pressure is on them and off of us. We can go out there and play like we always do.”